Resolution Statement – 01549-17 Jones v Wrexham Leader
1. Philip Jones complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Wrexham Leader breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in relation to an article headlined “92-year-old died after a fall”, published on 22 February 2017.
2. The article reported that an inquest had been opened into a woman’s death. It reported that she had died on 25 February, after suffering from a fall, and the post-mortem had revealed that sepsis was the cause of death.
3. The complainant was the son of the deceased. He said that his mother had died on 13 February, not the 25 February, and that there had been no post mortem. The complainant was concerned that when he raised his complaint directly with the newspaper, it had not been sympathetic, but had questioned if he had attended the inquest. He was concerned that the correction published by the newspaper had not contained an apology.
4. The publication apologised for the errors in its reporting of the inquest, and for any offence it caused by the manner of its response when first contacted by the complainant. It explained that it receives many complaints from individuals about reports of court and inquest proceedings when the complainant was not present at the hearing. In its second conversation with the complainant, it said that it verbally apologised for the errors, and made arrangements to publish a correction.
Relevant Code Provisions
5. 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.
6. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
7. Following IPSO’s intervention, the publication offered to add the following apology to its report on the inquest’s verdict:
We reported in the February 22 edition of the Wrexham Leader on the opening of an inquest into the death of Olivia Grace Tudor, of Bryn Drive, Coedpoeth. We would like to clarify that Mrs Tudor, who was injured in a fall, died at Wrexham Maelor Hospital on February 13 and her funeral took place at Coedpoeth on February 21. Contrary to the suggestion in the report, a post-mortem examination was not ordered by the North Wales East and Central coroner. We regret the errors in our report and apologise to the family for any distress caused.
8. The complainant said that this resolved the matter to his satisfaction.
9. 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:
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/05/2017