Resolution Statement 02458-16 Martin v The Daily Star on Sunday

    • Date complaint received

      11th August 2016

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Complaint 02458-16 Martin v The Daily Star on Sunday

Summary of complaint

1. Harry Amelia Martin complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Daily Star on Sunday breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Helen Wood exposes Harry Amelia’s lies to Nick Henderson: ‘She said she had no womb’”, published on 18 April 2016. The article was published online only.

2. The complainant expressed concern about comments in the article relating to a conversation the writer had had with the complainant’s child’s father: “I asked him why on earth he didn’t use protection and he told me she’d said she’s had her womb removed and that she was allergic to condoms.” The complainant said that she had never made such claims to her former partner, and the claims were untrue.

3. The publication initially stood by the accuracy of its story but, following a public announcement by the complainant’s child’s father that he had fabricated the claims, the publication agreed to publish an apology. 

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.

Mediated outcome

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

6. The publication offered to remove the article from its website and publish the following apology:

An apology to Harry Amelia

On April 18 2016 we published a column written by Helen Wood headlined “Helen Wood exposes Harry Amelia’s lies to Nick Henderson: ‘She said she had no womb’.”

Following a complaint from a representative for Harry Amelia the headline was amended to “Helen Wood calls Harry out for slating Nick: ‘Why slide knickers down in the first place?’”, as Harry Amelia provided evidence that our source may have given false statements. It has always been Harry Amelia’s position at no stage had she stated she had her womb removed or that she is allergic to condoms. On July 27 2016 Nick Henderson used a post on Twitter to publicly acknowledge he had in fact lied about the information he had provided to our columnist Helen Wood.

The column was published in good faith based upon information provided by Nick Henderson. Nick Henderson has publically stated he lied and said: “I extend a massive apology to Harry her family and everyone that was effected by it.” Given the information Nick Henderson provided to Helen Wood was in fact lies, we also unreservedly apologise to Harry Amelia for any embarrassment and distress the column may have caused.

7. The publication also offered to publish an article about the man saying he had lied, and to publish an apology in Helen Wood’s next column.

8. The complainant said that these actions would resolve the matter to her 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: 18/04/2016
Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 02/08/2016