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Just in case you thought it was all over, Rebekah Brooks is facing a legal tussle over over new allegations that phone hacking was “endemic” when she was editor of The Sun, according to an article in The Independent (14 January).  The Independent’s James Cusick, reports that lawyers for News Group Newspapers told a High Court hearing on 13 January that a “new flank” of hacking claims had been opened against the newspaper.

According to The Independent: “ The potential inclusion of The Sun in the third tranche of phone-hacking civil actions – which had previously all related to its sister paper the NOTW – could leave the company facing substantial extra compensation payouts. “

“News UK, the rebranded name of News International, is reported to have already spent more than £300m in the fallout from phone hacking at the NOTW. The total cost of defending the Murdoch empire is thought to be close to $1bn (£690m). NGN has always said that there was no hacking activity at The Sun.”

The article continues: “A civil trial over the latest claims against the NOTW had been scheduled for April, with a selection of test cases from a possible 16 claims pencilled in. The court heard that a further 25 were also pending. “

“If five of the claimants are successful and they are allowed to amend their claims to include phone hacking at to include phone hacking at The Sun, lawyers representing victims say a potential 60 cases could follow. News UK says such claims are unsubstantiated and will be vigorously challenged in court.”

The High Court hearing before Mr Justice Mann is expected to finish today, 15 January. The judge said that he would give his decision on whether to allow the claims to be brought against The Sun before Easter.

Last month the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided that there would be no corporate prosecutions of News International or any prosecution of former editors at Mirror Group of newspapers. Civil cases have  different (and lower) standards of proof than needed in criminal cases.

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