Resolution Statement 00397-20 Dobson v Isle of Man
Summary of Complaint
1. Nigel Dobson complained to the Independent Press
Standards Organisation that Isle of Man Examiner breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of
the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Magistrates say no to
Dobson's licence request”, published on 14 January 2020 and an article
headlined “Driving licence is set to be restored from September” on 21 January
2. The article
reported on the complainant’s application to have his driving licence restored
early after a drink driving conviction. It said that he had “failed in a bid to
win back his driving licence early”. It also said that after being suspended
from driving for five years because of his conviction, the complainant had been
told “to reapply after four years of the ban [had] been completed”.
3. The second article was a correction of the previous
article. It repeated that the complainant had sought to have his licence
restored early after being banned from driving. However, it differed in that it
went on to report that “Magistrates actually declined to restore his licence
immediately but ruled that it be restored from September 29, 2020”.
4. The complainant said that the articles were both
inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy). He said that the first article was
inaccurate as it said his driving licence had been declined when in fact it had
been restored. He said that the second article was inaccurate because it said
that the Magistrates had declined to restore his licence “immediately” as he
had not applied for it to be restored immediately; it had simply been granted
and the Magistrates set a date for this.
5. The publication said it accepted that the first article
was inaccurate. It had said that this was due to the Magistrate delivering the
judgment in an ambiguous way. This led to the court’s clerk writing that
restoring the licence had been declined, as well as the publication’s reporter,
and a radio station who also reported on the case. After the complaint was
referred by IPSO the newspaper offered to print the following correction:
In the Isle of Man Examiner of January 21, we reported that
Nigel Dobson, of Ballachrink Drive, Onchan, had applied for his driving licence
to be restored and that magistrates had declined to restore it immediately.
In fact, Mr Dobson did not ask for his licence to be
It will be restored on September 29.
We apologise for this error.
Relevant Code Provisions
6. Clause 1 (Accuracy)
i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate,
misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not
supported by the text.
ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or
distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where
appropriate — an apology published. In cases involving IPSO, due prominence
should be as required by the regulator.
iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies
should be given, when reasonably called for.
iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must
distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
7. The complaint was not resolved through direct
correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into
8. The publication offered to print the following
Nigel Dobson’s licence application granted from September
In the Isle of Man Examiner of January 14, we reported that
magistrates had refused to immediately restore the driving licence of Nigel
Dobson, of Ballachrink Drive, Onchan.
Dobson did not ask for it to be restored immediately.
Magistrates said it will be restored from September 2020.
We are happy to clarify the situation.
Mr Dobson was banned from driving for five years in
September 2016 after he failed a breathalyser test with a reading of 52. The
legal limit is 35.
9. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter
to his satisfaction.
10. As the complaint was successfully mediated, the
Complaints Committee did not make a determination as to whether there had been
any breach of the Code.
Date complaint received: 21/01/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/03/2020