Ruling

Resolution Statement 01577-18 Chiariello v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      29th March 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 3 Harassment, 9 Reporting of crime

Resolution Statement 01577-18 Chiariello v Mail Online

Summary of complaint

1. Gez Chiariello complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Mail Online breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment) and Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) in an article headlined “Married rape case detective, 44, who says he is 'drugs expert' is arrested on suspicion of inciting prostitution and supplying medicines without a prescription”, published on 12 February 2018.

2. The article reported that a Detective Inspector based at Milton Keynes Police Station had been arrested on suspicion of inciting prostitution and supplying medicines without a prescription. The article identified the complainant as being the former colleague of the Detective Inspector, and reported that the complainant “was sacked after being exposed as a liar and love cheat last year”; it also contained his photograph.

3. The complainant said that he had no relevance to the story. While he accepted that he had worked at the same police station as the Detective Inspector, he said that they had worked in different department. The complainant said that in those circumstances, the publication of information relating to him was misleading, intrusive and constituted harassment.

4. The publication did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that the inclusion of the complainant’s details in the article was justified, given the rarity of two high profile police officers, working within the same station, both being suspended from duty and also being arrested for alleged offences. It noted that the complainant objected to the facts relating to his dismissal being included in the article, but said that this did not render the article inaccurate.

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.

Clause 2 (Privacy) *

i) Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

ii) Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.

iii) It is unacceptable to photograph individuals, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 3. (Harassment)

i) Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.

ii) They must not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals once asked to desist; nor remain on property when asked to leave and must not follow them. If requested, they must identify themselves and whom they represent.

Clause 9 (Reporting of Crime)

i) Relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime should not generally be identified without their consent, unless they are genuinely relevant to the story.

ii) Particular regard should be paid to the potentially vulnerable position of children under the age of 18 who witness, or are victims of, crime. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

Mediated outcome

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, as a gesture of good will, to remove all references to the complainant from the article.

8. The complainant said that this would resolve 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: 14/02/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 08/03/2018