Resolution Statement – 12281-20 A woman v The Mail (Cumbria)
Summary of Complaint
1. A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Mail (Cumbria) breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Warrant made”, published on 8 August 2020 and an article headlined “Ban for woman who drove while over the drink drive alcohol limit”, published on 8 October 2020.
2. The first article reported that a woman had failed to appear before court and that a warrant had been issued against her.
3. The article also appeared online in substantially the same format under the headline “Warrant for woman charged with drink driving”.
4. The second article reported that the woman had admitted to drink driving. It also reported the alcohol limit for drivers in England was 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, and that the woman had been found to be double this limit.
5. This article also appeared online in substantially the same format.
6. The complainant, the woman in both of the articles, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. In the first article, she said that she had been excused from attending the court and that no warrant had been issued. With regards to the second article, she said that she had not admitted to drink driving but had been found guilty, and that the legal limit in England was 80mg of alcohol, so she had not been at twice the legal limit.
7. The publication accepted a breach of Clause 1. It said that a court reporter had attended court and had misread his notes after retuning, believing that a warrant had been issued when it had not. For the second article, it stated that the reporter had confused the English drink driving limit with the Scottish limit. The publication published corrections both online and in print in relation to both articles.
Relevant Code Provisions
8. 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.
9. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore began an investigation into the matter.
10. During IPSO’s investigation the publication offered to delete both of the online articles.
11. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to her satisfaction.
12. 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: 09/08/2020
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 12/11/2020Back to ruling listing