Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 01823-14 A woman v Chester Leader

    • Date complaint received

      6th February 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 3 Harassment, 5 Reporting suicide

Resolution Statement: Complaint 01823-14 A woman v Chester Leader

Summary of complaint

1. A woman complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Chester Leader had published three articles which raised breaches of Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The complainant expressed concern that the articles, which covered the trial and conviction of the man on charges of sexual assault, had contained a number of inaccuracies, and had included excessive detail, which had been distressing to read. The complainant considered that the newspaper had misleadingly focused on the defendant’s version of events, making little mention of his previous convictions, and had wrongly implied that the victim had been at fault. 

3. The newspaper said it regretted any distress caused by its coverage, but the reports were based entirely on the evidence presented in court. It considered that the reports were accurate and balanced, and while some might have found some of the detail overly graphic, such information was to be expected in coverage of a case of sexual assault such as this. It had taken care to ensure that the victim was not identified. 

Relevant Code Provisions

4. Clause 1 (Accuracy) 

i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published. In cases involving the Regulator, prominence should be agreed with the Regulator in advance. 

Clause 3 (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 in private places without their consent. Note - Private places are public or private property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. 

Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

i) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings, such as inquests. 

Mediated outcome

5. The complaint was not resolved through direct correspondence between the parties. IPSO therefore instigated an investigation into the matter.  

6. The newspaper offered to remove the articles from its website.  

7. The complainant said the removal of the articles online would resolve the matter to her satisfaction. 

8. 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: 17/11/2014 

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 06/02/2015