Ruling

Resolution Statement 06822-17 Holehouse v thesun.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      19th October 2017

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 2 Privacy, 4 Intrusion into grief or shock

Resolution Statement 06822-17 Holehouse v thesun.co.uk

1. Anthony Holehouse complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that thesun.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in the following articles:

  • “Holiday plunge horror: Cage fighter and conman among five British men in Benidorm apartment where hen-do reveller Kirsty Maxwell fell 100ft to her death”, published on 4 May 2017
  • “Benidorm death probe: British ‘Benidorm five’ face calls to be quizzed in Spain over hen party girl’s balcony death plunge after ‘contradictions’ in their stories, published on 10 May 2017
  • “’I am innocent’: Brit man arrested after Scottish woman plunged 100ft to her death from Benidorm balcony on hen do insists he did nothing wrong”, published on 3 May 2017
  • “Hen-do victim just 7mths wed”, published on 2 May 2017.

2. The articles reported that the complainant had been one of five men staying in a holiday apartment when a woman fell from the balcony and died.

3. The complainant said that reporting that he had been in the apartment at time of the woman’s death had intruded into his private life and into his grief following the tragedy. He also said that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that he had been taking drugs when the woman died.

4. The newspaper did not accept any breach of the Code. It said that the woman’s death had been a terrible and tragic occurrence, but it was a matter of fact that the complainant had been one of the men in the apartment when she died. It said that one of the men had said in a statement that they had been taking cocaine the evening of the woman’s death.   

Relevant Code provisions

5. 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 2 (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, without their consent, in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock)

In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and publication handled sensitively. These provisions should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.

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 of the complaint, the newspaper offered to remove the complainant’s photograph from the stories and put a warning on its system about using it in future. It also deleted the reference to his taking cocaine.

8. The complainant said that the newspaper’s offer would resolve the matter to his 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: 6 May 2017
Date complaint concluded: 23 August 2017