Actor Hugh Grant’s claim against Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) over alleged unlawful information gathering by group tabloid The Sun is set for a court trial.
Grant claims that he was targeted by journalists and private investigators for The Sun in 2011, which News Group denies, PA reports. In April, News Group sought to have Grant’s and a similar claim by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, dismissed at a hearing in London, on the grounds that both had left it too late to file their claims, PA said.
On Friday, a U.K. High Court found that Grant’s claim could proceed to trial, except for any allegations relating to phone hacking.
“Although Mr. Grant was aware prior to March 2016 of general allegations about use of PIs [private investigators] to obtain information, there is in my judgment a realistic chance that Mr. Grant may establish at trial that, although he was aware of general allegations and was suspicious, he could not reasonably have believed with sufficient confidence that he may have been targeted by PIs instructed by The Sun in some of the relevant ways,” Justice Fancourt said.
“Sufficient knowledge or belief that NGN’s denials of phone-hacking were false does not necessarily mean that Mr. Grant believed at that time that NGN had used different methods of UIG [unlawful information gathering] targeted at him. That issue will have to be tried,” Justice Fancourt added.
A spokesperson for News Group told Variety: “News Group Newspapers is pleased that, following our application, the High Court has ruled that Mr. Grant is statute barred from bringing a phone hacking claim against The Sun. The remainder of his claim, which has been brought following a statement made by Mr. Gavin Burrows in 2021, has been allowed to proceed to trial. NGN strongly denies the various historical allegations of unlawful information gathering contained in what remains of Mr. Grant’s claim.”
A ruling on the admissibility of Prince Harry’s claim will be revealed later this year, following a July hearing focused on whether his case can include his allegations that there was a secret agreement between the royal family and senior executives working for News Group proprietor Murdoch.
Grant settled a claim with News Group in 2012 relating to the News Of The World.
The actor most recently starred in “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.”