LONDON – Former world champion boxer Chris Eubank said he is relishing a “gargantuan battle” with News International after turning down an offer from the News Corp.-owned publishing division to settle out of court his phone-hacking compensation claim.
The boxer, regarded by much of the media as an eccentric character, made a personal appearance Tuesday at the High Court in London representing himself in a case management hearing for phone-hacking victims.
The 46-year-old former boxer rejected News International’s "derisory offer" of $32,000 telling the court that the cash offer from the former publisher – News International closed the publication in the turmoil after the phone hacking began – made a "mockery of the justice system."
Speaking outside the hearing — during which the judge reportedly asked Eubank to take his seat as it was not an appropriate stage for him to negotiate the details of the case — the ex-athlete continued to court the headlines.
Talking to ITN News and the h’s online news feed, Eubank also referenced Rupert Murdoch‘s appearance before a phone-hacking select committee hearing in 2011 when his wife Wendi Deng defended him from a custard pie wielding attacker.
"I know that Mrs Murdoch has a pretty good left hook so I am going to ask her to be gentle with me," Eubank quipped.
Eubank said he intended to fight on and alleged that the newspaper’s actions had destroyed his marriage and left him without his children.
In court Justice Vos said that his case, which is currently stayed pending trial of other actions, would be dealt with as part of the managed litigation at the appropriate time and he would ask News Group Newspaper to keep him informed.
Dinah Rose, the attorney representing News International’s management, objected to Eubank’s comments about an offer but was told by the judge: "I tried to stop him grandstanding. What’s done is done."