Resolution Statement – 02502-18 Deevoy v The Mail on Sunday
Summary of Complaint
1. Ben Deevoy complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Mail on Sunday breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “The criminals, crackpots and extremists who have poisoned anti-fracking camp protests”, published on 17 December 2018.
2. The article described the backgrounds of individuals involved in anti-fracking protests. It said that the complainant, “who has convictions for robbery and battery”, had been jailed the previous year.
3. The complainant said that he had never been arrested, charged or convicted for robbery. He said he could provide evidence from his solicitor indicating that, at his previous trial for obstructing a lawful activity, his past convictions had not included robbery.
4. The newspaper said that the information about the
complainant’s convictions came from an earlier press report of the court
hearing which related to the complainant’s conviction for obstructing a lawful
activity. This report stated that the court had heard that the complainant had been
jailed because of his record of past convictions, which included battery and
robbery. However, the newspaper said that it would be happy to correct the
article if the complainant could provide evidence that he did not have a
conviction for robbery.
5. Clause 1
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.
8. The complaint
was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO
therefore began an investigation into the matter.
9. Following IPSO’s
investigation, and on receiving the complainant’s solicitor’s evidence, the
publication removed the reference to robbery from the online article, and
offered to add a footnote making clear that the complainant’s convictions did
not include robbery. It also offered to publish a correction in its Corrections
& Clarifications column to the same effect.
10. The complainant
said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.
11. 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.
concluded by IPSO: 03/05/2018