A court in the U.K. has determined that Hugh Grant's allegations against British newspaper The Sun will go to trial.
On Friday, Justice Timothy Fancourt rejected an April motion filed by The Sun's publisher, Rupert Murdoch's News Group Newspapers (NGN), to dismiss the claim, Variety reported. The company also requested for similar claims from Prince Harry to be dismissed, which is expected to be ruled on later this year.
NGN argued that Grant's claim was filed beyond the six-year statute of limitations and should be thrown out. Still, the actor's allegations, with the exception of a phone-hacking claim, will go to trial in January, per ABC News.
In the filing, Grant reportedly alleged that in 2011, journalists and private investigators for the publication illegally gathered information about him and tapped his home phone, bugged his car, and broke into his home.
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Representatives for Grant did not immediately respond to The Messenger's request for comment.
"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 stated, according to Variety.
He continued, "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."
In a statement, Grant said he is "pleased that my case will be allowed to go to trial, which is what I have always wanted," The Guardian reported.
"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."
He added, "The judgment says that News Group's sworn denials of phone-hacking at the Sun during and after the Leveson Inquiry, should not have been believed by me, and so I am too late to claim damages for the relatively small phone-hacking element of my claim. That says as much about News Group's honesty as it does about any naivety I may have displayed by believing what NGN's witnesses say on oath."
NGN also responded to Justice Fancourt's decision, telling 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."
The Messenger reached out to The Sun for comment but did not immediately hear back.
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