Ronan Keating accepts phone-hacking settlement

·3-min read
Ronan Keating accepted the phone-hacking settlement at the High Court. (Photo by Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)
Ronan Keating accepted a phone-hacking settlement at the High Court. (Cole Bennetts/Getty Images)

Ronan Keating has accepted "substantial damages" from the publisher of the News Of The World over the hacking of his voicemails. 

The former Boyzone singer brought legal action against News Group Newspapers (NGN) in April 2020, claiming his voicemail messages had been intercepted by NGN journalists.

The High Court heard on Monday that he had identified a number of “suspicious” articles published between 1996 and 2011 that he said contained his private information.

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Ellen Gallagher, representing Keating, told the court: “Mr Keating claimed that his voicemail messages were intercepted by the defendant’s journalists and consequently these journalists were privy to private and confidential voicemail messages left on his mobile telephone by others, such as his family and friends.”

The father-of-five also claimed NGN had obtained his personal information through deception.

Gallagher went on: “Mr Keating further asserted that, as a result of the defendant’s publications, he became suspicious as to who might be the source of the private information that was being published in the defendant’s newspapers.

Ronan Keating said a number of articles had contained private information. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)
Ronan Keating said a number of articles had contained private information. (Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images)

“Mr Keating alleged that the publication of the articles generated distrust which impacted on his relationships and caused him considerable distress and upset.”

At the hearing before Mr Justice Fancourt, the court was told Keating had accepted NGN’s offer to settle his claim.

As part of the settlement, NGN has agreed to pay Keating “substantial damages”, as well as his reasonable legal costs.

“The defendant has agreed to join in this statement to apologise to Mr Keating publicly for the distress caused to him by the invasion of his privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World,” Gallagher said.

NGN did not admit any liability in relation to allegations of phone-hacking at the publisher’s other paper, The Sun.

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Ben Silverstone, representing NGN, said: “The defendant is here today, through me, to offer its sincere apologies to the claimant for the distress caused to him by the invasion of his privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News Of The World.

“The defendant acknowledges that such activity should never have taken place and that it had no right to intrude into the private life of the claimant in this way.”

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Since the 2011 phone-hacking scandal led to the closure of the News of the World in that year, NGN has settled a number of damages claims concerning unlawful information-gathering – but has never admitted liability in relation to alleged phone hacking at The Sun.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Keating said: “I am delighted NGN has now accepted responsibility for publishing countless articles about my and my family’s private life that should have remained private.

“For many years I was suspicious as to how my private information was being obtained and I am overjoyed that I can now put this episode behind me and move on.”

With reporting by PA.

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