Ruling

Resolution Statement: Complaint 02588-15 Lavington v Mail Online

    • Date complaint received

      9th July 2015

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      3 Harassment

Resolution Statement: Complaint 02588-15 Lavington v Mail Online 

Summary of complaint

1. Allan Lavington complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that MailOnline had published an article, headlined “Church deacon tried to sue his pastor wife for unfair dismissal claiming she sacked him when their marriage broke down”, on 3 February 2015, which raised a breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice. 

2. The article reported on employment tribunal proceedings which the complainant had brought against his former wife.  It was accompanied by a portrait photograph of the complainant. 

3. The complainant said that the photograph had been taken from his personal and confidential work file, and had been given to a journalist by his former wife. He said that the publication of the photograph intruded on his privacy. 

4. The publication said that the photograph had been provided by the complainant’s former wife. It said that it did not show the complainant doing anything private, and denied that there was a breach of Clause 3. 

Relevant Code Provisions

5. 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. 

Mediated outcome

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

7. While maintaining that there was no breach of the Code, the publication removed the photograph of the complainant from the article. 

8. The complainant said that he would be content to resolve his complaint 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: 09/04/2015

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 09/07/2015