British actor Hugh Grant, the star of the romantic comedy “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” sued London’s Metropolitan Police, two months after he said he taped a former tabloid journalist saying phone hacking was widespread.
Grant and Jemima Khan, a columnist for the Independent newspaper, filed a lawsuit July 14 in London, according to court records. In the past week, Grant has condemned News Corp.’s now-defunct News of the World over claims reporters for the tabloid hacked into the mobile phones of politicians, celebrities, and murder and terror victims.
Mark Thomson, a lawyer for Grant and Khan, said in a statement that the suit was filed for the Metropolitan Police to disclose some documents seized by the police in 2006.
Complaints against the police have been a means for possible victims, including former government minister Tessa Jowell, to obtain evidence on whether their phones were accessed. Jowell later filed a claim against News Corp. over hacking.
Grant secretly taped a former reporter for the News of the World talking about phone hacking at the paper. The reporter, Paul McMullan, had previously told Grant his phone had been hacked, according to the actor. He transcribed parts of the conversation and published them in April in the New Statesman.
McMullan told him phone hacking was committed on an “industrial-scale” at News of the World under former editor Andy Coulson, Grant told the BBC last week.
Separately, actor Jude Law, who has already sued News Corp. over phone hacking at News of the World, filed a new complaint in London on June 17, according to court records. The latest suit involves News Corp.’s Sun newspaper, the Associated Press reported.
News International denies Law’s allegations that four articles published in 2005 and 2006 were based on information derived from illegally intercepted voice mails, Daisy Dunlop, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
“We believe this is a deeply cynical and deliberately mischievous attempt to draw the Sun into the phone-hacking issue,” Dunlop said in the statement. “The allegations made in this claim have been carefully investigated by our lawyers and the evidence shows that they have no foundation whatsoever.”
Thomson, who also represents Law, said in a separate e-mailed statement that News International’s “record speaks for itself.”
“Accusations of cynicism and mischief making by News International are ridiculous,” Thomson said. “By their own admission, News International have misled the Police, Parliament and the public for nearly 5 years about the extent of the wrongdoing by their journalists and executives.”
A call to the Metropolitan Police wasn’t answered.
The case is: Hugh Grant v. The Commissioner For the Police of the Metropolis, case no. 11-02424, High Court of Justice, Chancery Division (London). The Jude Law case is: Jude Law v. Newsgroup Newspapers, High Court of Justice Chancery Division, No. HC11C02065.