On Thursday 18 March 2015, Mr Justice Mann heard closing submissions on behalf of the eight representative claimants in the Mirror Damages Trial. David Sherborne, Counsel for the Claimants, told the Court that the cases were “exceptional” compared to other privacy actions.
He said that this was a case in which there was long running illegality across three national titles, involving multiple journalists. The activity was, he said, carried out covertly with the destruction of evidence.
In the course of his submissions Mr Sherborne said
“There was no higher journalistic purpose, MGN has – rightly – not taken any public interest point. This is not about freedom of the press. It is about the systematic gathering of private information for profit, using illegal means. It is this context in which damages fall to be assessed.”
It was submitted that the case was “unparalleled”. The Claimants sought damages to take into account the victims’ distress, loss of personal autonomy and the affront to their dignity.
The Claimants suggested that it was inappropriate for the Defendant to require Paul Gascoigne to be tendered for cross-examination. It was said that the court would have its own view as to “whether this was a cynical and calculated decision on the part of MGN”.
The Claimants and the Defendants have both lodged extensive written submissions to the Court. The Claimants’ 101 page closing submissions were in the form of a revised version of their opening.
The Defendant’s closing submissions were 106 pages. The oral closing submissions by Matthew Nicklin QC for the Defendant will be made on Tuesday 24 March 2015.