Ruling

Resolution Statement 03164-18 Turner v The Sun

    • Date complaint received

      2nd August 2018

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 16 Payment to criminals

Resolution Statement 03164-18 Turner v The Sun

Summary of Complaint

1. Richard Turner complained on behalf of himself and his brother, Yusif Rahim, formerly known as Levi Bellfield, to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that The Sun on Sunday breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) and Clause 16 (Payment to Criminals) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined, “Bellfield in prison sausage law fight,” published on 22 April 2018.

2. The article reported that the prison in which the complainant’s brother was housed had “served non-Halal sausages to his fellow inmates.” It stated that Mr Bellfield, and others, had been given pork sausages after a labelling error at HMP Frankland. It claimed that Mr Bellfield had realised that they were not beef before eating them and included a statement from the prison about the matter. The article was also published online with the headline, “Bangered up: Fury as prison bosses served non-halal sausages to Levi Bellfield and other Muslim lags.” The online article was substantially the same as the article which appeared in print.

3. The complainant said that it was misleading to refer to Levi Bellfield in this article. He said that he had been contacted, as his brother’s representative, prior to publication and had told the newspaper that his brother had not eaten the non-halal sausages. He also provided a copy of his brother’s menu cards for that week, which showed he had not ordered sausages. In these circumstances, the complainant said that it was inaccurate to state his brother had been served non-halal sausages and to suggest he was considering taking legal action in relation to this matter.

4. He also said that he believed a certain individual within the prison was being paid for this information, which he said was in breach of Clause 16 (Payment to Criminals).

5. The newspaper did not accept that it had breached the Code. It said that an anonymous source contacted the publication claiming that non-halal sausages had been served to Muslim inmates. It then contacted the prison authorities, who confirmed that the incident had taken place. It said that the initial tip had mentioned the complainant’s brother and claimed he had eaten a number of sausages, so the reporter therefore contacted the complainant for comment. It said the article was not inaccurate, as it did not state that Mr Bellfield had eaten the sausages, but that they were eaten by his fellow Muslim inmates, which was true.

6. Regardless, the newspaper offered to publish the following clarification, to make the position clear:

In a story 'Bellfield in prison sausage law fight (22 April) we suggested that Levi Bellfield, now known as Yusuf Rahim, was involved in a legal fight over sausages mistakenly served to inmates because of a labelling error. In fact, Mr Bellfield was not served the sausages, though he was aware of the uproar and did not pursue legal action.

Relevant Code provisions

7. 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 16 (Payment to Criminals)

i) Payment or offers of payment for stories, pictures or information which seek to exploit a particular crime or to glorify or glamorise crime in general, must not be made directly or via agents to convicted or confessed criminals or to their associates- who may include family, friends and colleagues.

ii) Editors invoking the public interest to justify payment or offers would need to demonstrate that there was good reason to believe the public interest would be served. If, despite payment, no public interest emerged, then the material should not be published.

Mediated outcome

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

9. During IPSO’s investigation, the newspaper offered to publish a correction, in the corrections and clarifications column on page two of the newspaper and as a stand alone correction published on the newspaper’s home page for 24 hours, before being archived in the usual way. The correction stated:

CORRECTION

In a story 'Bellfield in prison sausage law fight’ (22 April) we wrongly suggested that Levi Bellfield, now known as Yusuf Rahim, had been served non-halal sausages. We are happy to make clear that Levi Bellfield was not involved in this incident and is not pursing legal action in relation to this matter.

10. The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction.

11. 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: 22/04/2018

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 13/06/2018