Resolution Statement 04504-18 Howeson v Plymouth Herald
Summary of complaint
1. Emma Howeson, acting on behalf of her husband Charles Howeson, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Plymouth Herald breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Jailed businessman faces bankruptcy”, published on 26 June 2018.
2. The complainant
expressed concern that the newspaper had inaccurately reported comments made by
her husband’s QC in mitigation in court. He had not said that Mr Howeson had
been left “deeply ashamed”. In fact, he had said that Mr Howeson had been
“deeply shamed”. She said the inaccuracy had given the significantly misleading
impression that her husband had admitted guilt when he had always maintained
3. The newspaper
did not accept any breach of the Code. It said that it had correctly quoted the
QC who had used the phrase “deeply ashamed” in court, but that the context in
which it was said was not as clear as it should have been in the article. It
offered to publish a clarification in print to address this point.
Relevant Code provisions
4. 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.
5. The complaint
was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO
therefore began an investigation into the matter.
6. The complainant
provided a copy of the mitigation which had been read by her husband’s QC in
7. The newspaper
accepted that the QC had not said that Mr Howeson had been left “deeply
ashamed”; in fact he had said that Mr Howeson was now “deeply shamed”. While it
did not consider that this inaccuracy was significant, it offered to publish
the following clarification in print, with a similar wording to appear online:
On 26 June 2018 we published an article about Charles
Howeson under the heading 'Jailed Businessman faces bankruptcy' in which we
reported that Daniel Janner QC told Bristol Crown Court that Howeson had been
left "deeply ashamed". The sentence should have read: Mr Janner said
Howeson had been "deeply shamed" and that he “would not be remembered
for his substantial achievements” which “stretched back decades”. We are happy
to make it clear that Howeson, who has been jailed for sexual offences, has
always maintained his innocence.
8. The complainant
accepted the newspaper’s offer as a resolution to her complaint.
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: 16/07/2018
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/08/2018
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