Ruling

Satisfactory Remedy – 11461-22 Walter-Frayling v herefordtimes.com

    • Date complaint received

      3rd November 2022

    • Outcome

      Resolved - satisfactory remedy

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy, 12 Discrimination, 9 Reporting of crime

Satisfactory Remedy – 11461-22 Walter-Frayling v herefordtimes.com

Summary of Complaint

1. Mr Lee Walter-Frayling complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that herefordtimes.com breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Court bans man from entering or loitering outside Hereford bike shop”, published on 2 September 2022.

2. The article was a court report about a man who had pleaded guilty to harassment. The article stated that the "course of conduct which amounted to the harassment” had included “subjecting [two men] to insults and abuse via email, on social media, and in person, having unwanted contact with them, and taking unwanted photographs and videos".

3. The complainant, the man who had pleaded guilty, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1 as the court found there was no evidence to suggest he had posted insults and abuse on social media. The complainant provided a letter from his solicitor to demonstrate this.

4. While the publication accepted that that it had not been heard in court that the complainant was found guilty of harassment by posting insults and abuse on social media, it did note that this information had appeared on the court register, which formed the basis for the reporting, but later found that the court register itself was inaccurate. The publication offered to amend the online report by removing references to the man sending abuse “on social media” and “taking unwanted photographs and videos”. It also offered to add the following correction to the bottom of the article:

Editor's note: This article has been amended as the original details provided by the court were incorrect. Mr Frayling's solicitor has confirmed that his guilty plea did not include social media contact or posting photographs.

5. The complainant did not accept the proposed wording as a resolution to his complaint as he did not consider this to be sufficient without financial compensation from the newspaper. He also wanted the amendment to be published in print. He said his complaint could not be resolved.

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.

iii) A fair opportunity to reply to significant inaccuracies should be given, when reasonably called for.

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

v) A publication must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.

Outcome

6. The publication requested that IPSO consider whether the remedial measures it had offered to the complainant amounted to a satisfactory resolution of the complaint such that, subject to fulfilment of the offer, the complaint could be closed.

7. The Committee noted that the inaccuracy had arisen as a result of an error on the court register. The publication had offered to amend the article as well as publish a correction online. Where the correction was offered the day after IPSO’s investigation begun, the Committee considered it to be duly prompt. As the inaccuracy only appeared online and not in print, the Committee found that an online correction alone was duly prominent and that a print correction was unnecessary.

8. In line with the provisions in paragraph 40 of IPSO’s Regulations; having taken into account the nature of the complaint and the publication’s remedial actions in response, outlined in paragraph 7, the Committee concluded that the measures offered by the publication were a satisfactory resolution of the complaint and, once the correction is published, the complaint could be closed.


Date complaint received: 5 September 2022

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 19 October 2022