Phone-hacking: 22 victims 'reach court settlement'

DJ Jamie Theakston
Image caption DJ Jamie Theakston is among those who settled their damages actions

Twenty-two victims of the News of The World (NoW) phone-hacking scandal, including DJ Jamie Theakston and Jade Goody's ex-partner, have accepted damages to settle their cases.

Colin Stagg - wrongly accused of murder - and Robbie Williams's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Brash, also accepted substantial damages from NoW publisher News Group.

The High Court heard other cases were likely to settle before January.

A "substantial" number of claims against News Group still remain.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, Lord Hunt, has said three independent advisers have been appointed to oversee the industry's proposals for a new regulator.

They are Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, recently retired as Supreme Court president; Guardian columnist and ex-editor of The Times Sir Simon Jenkins; and Lord Smith, ex-Labour culture secretary and now Advertising Standards Authority chairman.

'Claims going forward'

Among those who settled their claims on Friday were Jeff Brazier, the father of the late Jade Goody's children, the ex-wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie - Eimear Cook - and Major David Brookes.

Major Brookes is a relative by marriage of Mr Justice Vos, the judge presiding over the litigation.

The News of the World was shut down by owner Rupert Murdoch following the revelation the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had been hacked.

The scandal also led to the establishment of the Leveson Inquiry, an MPs' inquiry and the launch of three police investigations into alleged widespread phone hacking and corruption.

The court is due to sit on Monday to consider News Group's bid to strike out a claim being brought by Mary-Ellen Field, a former adviser to model Elle Macpherson.

The publisher is expected to argue that no phone interception took place.

There were some 167 phone hacking claims on the register prior to the settlements announced today.

Lead counsel Hugh Tomlinson QC told the court that while other cases are likely to settle before January, "it is also right to say that there will remain a substantial number of claims going forward."

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