Ruling

Satisfactory Remedy – 17293-23 Reynolds v swindonadvertiser.co.uk

    • Date complaint received

      31st August 2023

    • Outcome

      Resolved - satisfactory remedy

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Satisfactory Remedy – 17293-23 Reynolds v swindonadvertiser.co.uk


Summary of Complaint

1. Karren Reynolds complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that swindonadvertiser.co.uk breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Wiltshire criminals in court this month accused of racism”, published on 23 July 2022.

2. The article – which appeared online only – reported on “14 cases” in which racism “stated in the charge or the particulars of that charge”. It reported that the complainant “assaulted a woman and then used threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards a man”, with court records showing that her behaviour was “hostility based on a disability or presumed disability or the victim”. It then reported that the complainant was “convicted of assault by beating, a section 4a public order offence and racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment”.

3. The complainant said that the article was inaccurate, in breach of Clause 1, as her conviction was quashed on appeal in March 2023.

4. The publication did not accept a breach of the Code. It defended the article as a fair and accurate report of court proceedings, at the time of its publication.

5. However, on 30 March 2023 and during IPSO’s complaints process, the complainant provided the publication with documentation from the court. This detailed her original convictions and the outcome of her appeal. On the same day that the publication received this information, it added the following update beneath the section of the article which detailed the complainant’s case:

“UPDATE: In March 2023, the convictions above for Karren Lea Reynolds were quashed on appeal at Swindon Crown Court.”

6. The complainant did not accept the steps taken by the publication as a resolution to her complaint.

Relevant Clause 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.

Outcome

7. IPSO considered whether the actions taken by the publication amounted to a satisfactory remedy of the complaint.

8. Upon receipt of the documentation from the court confirming the outcome of the appeal, the publication amended the online article. The amended wording made the position clear: the complainant’s convictions were quashed on appeal. This wording had been published promptly, on the same day that it became aware of the court’s decision, and was sufficiently prominent, appearing beneath the complainant’s original (and now quashed) convictions.

9. In line with the provisions in Regulation 40 of IPSO’s Regulations; having considered the nature of the complaint and the publication’s remedial actions in response, the Committee concluded that the remedial measures offered by the publication were a satisfactory resolution of the complaint.

Remedial action required

10. N/A

 

Date complaint received:  28/03/2023

Date complaint concluded by IPSO:  21/08/2023