Ruling

Resolution Statement 02287-18 Jolley v Daily Record

    • Date complaint received

      12th July 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 02287-18 Jolley v Daily Record

Summary of complaint

1. Michael Jolley complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that dailyrecord.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Teen sex coach gets boss job in England”, published on 13 March 2018.

2. The article reported that the complainant, a “former youth coach convicted of having sex with a girl of 15”, had been appointed manager of Grimsby Town. It described some of the details of this conviction, and said that “one of the girl’s pals found her in the bathroom later, looking distressed”. The article said that the complainant “was sentenced to a year on probation and being put on the sex offenders’ register”. It went on to explain that the complainant “has since been cleared to work with young people by the Scottish Government and the English FA”, and said that he had issued a statement saying that he “was informed by the police that the girl in question had not disclosed her true age”, and that he “claimed” that the victim and friends had returned to his flat demanding money after the incident.

3. The online version of the article was substantially similar, and was headlined “Vile beast who had sex with 15-year-old girl appointed manager of League Two side”.

4. The complainant said that the use of the term “vile beast” in the online headline was misleading. He also said that the article was highly selective, because it did not refer to the fact that the court accepted that he would not have slept with the girl had he been informed of her true age; this was also highlighted by the Scottish FA panel which considered the matter. It was also untrue to say that he “claimed” the girls returned to his flat to demand money: this was established fact. Finally, it was inaccurate to say that the girl had been found “looking distressed” in a bathroom; this had not been heard in court.

5. The publication denied that the article was inaccurate. It said that it was entitled to characterise individuals based on their actions, but offered to remove the term “vile beast” from the online headline. It said that omitting certain material from the article did not make it misleading; the article had included a statement from the complainant setting out his position that he had not known the girl’s age at the time of the incident. Finally, the publication said that, at the time of the trial, the court had heard that “the girl was found in the bathroom by her friend looking in a distressed state”; this was not therefore inaccurate.

Relevant Code provisions

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.

Mediated outcome

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

7. During IPSO’s investigation, the publication said it was willing to amend the online headline to read “Coach who had sex with 15-year-old girl appointed manager of League Two side”.

8. The complainant said that he would consider the matter resolved on this basis.

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: 13/03/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 28/06/2018