The publisher of the U.K. tabloid The Sun lost its bid to get Hugh Grant’s lawsuit dismissed, so now it’ll be up to a trial to determine whether journalists and investigators illegally snooped on the actor on The Sun’s behalf.
On Friday, a London court dismissed Grant’s accusations of voicemail interception against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN), citing time limitations and noting that the “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” actor could have made those claims sooner. However, the court said a trial will deal with Grant’s allegations that his home phone was tapped, his car was bugged and his home was burgled.
“If true — which will be a matter for the trial due to take place in January 2024 — these allegations would establish very serious, deliberate wrongdoing at NGN, conducted on an institutional basis on a huge scale,” Justice Timothy Fancourt wrote in his ruling, per the Associated Press.
Fancourt continued: “Of particular relevance … they would also establish a concerted effort to conceal the wrongdoing by hiding and destroying relevant documentary evidence, repeated public denials, lies to regulators and authorities, and unwarranted threats to those who dared to make allegations or notify intended claims against The Sun.”
NGN has claimed that The Sun did not participate in unlawful information gathering. In a statement on Friday, an NGN spokesperson said the company “strongly denies the various historical allegations of unlawful information-gathering contained in what remains of Mr. Grant’s claim.”
In a statement of his own on Friday (via Reuters), Grant said, “I am pleased that my case will be allowed to go to trial, which is what I have always wanted — because it is necessary that the truth comes out about the activities of The Sun. As my case makes clear, the allegations go far wider and deeper than voicemail interception.”
Grant previously settled a phone hacking case with News of the World, a now-defunct NGN publication.
Prince Harry has also sued NGN over alleged unlawful information gathering. NGN argued at a hearing last month that the claims from Harry and Grant should be thrown out because they exceed a six-year time limit.
Fancourt didn’t address Harry’s claims in his ruling on Friday, as he wants to learn more about Harry’s allegations in a hearing scheduled for July, according to the AP.
With News Wire Services