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.
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.
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.
Date complaint received: 270/2/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 03/05/2018Back to ruling listing