John Leslie loses phone-hacking damages claim appeal

John Leslie has failed to win phone hacking damages. Picture: Ian Georgeson
John Leslie has failed to win phone hacking damages. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FORMER television presenter John Leslie has lost his challenge against a High Court decision to block his second phone-hacking damages claim.

In April 2013, it was announced that Mr Leslie had accepted substantial damages, costs and an apology from News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the now-defunct News of the World.

Last year, Mr Justice Mann agreed with NGN that the settlement encompassed all allegations of hacking by or on behalf of the publisher.

Edinburgh-born Mr Leslie had argued that it encompassed claims relating to a particular mobile phone targeted by hacker Glenn Mulcaire and his associates on behalf of the newspaper’s news desk.

His new action, which referred to two mobile phones and a “series of arrangements” for hacking, detailed the distress and damage he said he suffered and included a claim for more than £300,000 damages.

At Mr Leslie’s appeal against Mr Justice Mann’s ruling, his counsel, Augustus Ullstein QC, said he knew he had been hacked but the extent and consequences had not been discovered at the time he accepted a “relatively small sum” of £15,000.

Mr Leslie had to issue proceedings when he did because of time and costs constraints and he did not have the “evidential bricks” to build up a case.

But yesterday, the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court that the new claims fell within the scope of the compromise of the first action and could not be maintained in a second action.

Leslie was born in the Capital and went to both Liberton and James Gillespie’s High Schools. Before hitting it big on TV, he previously worked as a DJ in some of the Capital’s nightclubs.

He became the first Scottish presenter on Blue Peter when he joined the hit children’s show in 1989 and then later went on to present the gameshow Wheel of Fortune and ITV’s This Morning as a co-host.

But his career collapsed in 2002 after he was identified as the unnamed presenter whom Ulrika Jonsson said in her autobiography had attacked her. She has never named him herself. In 2003, he was accused of indecently assaulting a 23-year-old actress six years earlier, but he was cleared of all charges.

After he sold his London home and returned to Edinburgh, he become involved with property development before relaunching a radio career with Radio Forth.

newsen@edinburghnews.com