Ruling

Resolution Statement 28129-20 Odewale and Yadav v Metro

    • Date complaint received

      24th December 2020

    • Outcome

      Resolved - IPSO mediation

    • Code provisions

      1 Accuracy

Resolution Statement 28129-20 Odewale and Yadav v Metro

 

Summary of Complaint 

1.    Ayodele Odewale and Sara Yadav complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that Metro breached Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Credit cards scam pair ordered to repay £1m”, published on 15 July 2020. 


2.    The article reported that a couple had been “ordered […] to hand over £1,011,431 to the National Crime Agency under the Proceeds of Crime Act” and referred to the man and woman as a “credit cards scam pair.” It reported that the couple had “trawled public records to apply for credit cards in their victims’ names.” 


3.    The article also appeared online in substantially the same format. 


4.    The complainants, the man and woman referred to in the article, said that the article was inaccurate in breach of Clause 1. The High Court had not found that the woman had committed any crime, nor that the couple had acted as a “pair” in carrying out the matters reported by the article; the judgement found that the man was solely responsible. Further, the complainants said that it had not been heard in court that the couple had “trawled public records” to apply for credit cards in people’s names. Finally, the complainants disputed that the crime in question was a “credit card scam”, as the judgement had not characterised the activities as such. 


5.    The publication said it accepted that the High Court judgement showed that the woman was not directly involved in the activity, as the article had reported. Rather, the judgement only said that she had “turned a blind eye” to the conduct of her partner. It said that, having accepted that this piece of information was inaccurate, it had amended the online article prior to a complaint being made to IPSO to make clear that only the man had “trawled public records.” 


6.    While the newspaper accepted that it was inaccurate to state that the couple had “trawled public records to apply for credit cards in their victims name” it did not accept that there were any other inaccuracies in the article. It said that, as the couple had both profited from the proceedings of the activity committed by the man, it was not inaccurate to describe the couple as a “credit cards scam pair.” It also said that the High Court judgment stated that the man had “typically targeted people living in wealthy areas, researching their details through public records and fraudulently applying for credit cards in their names, which he used to withdraw cash”; as such, it did not consider it inaccurate to state that the man had “trawled public records”. The newspaper amended the online article to remove the reference to the woman having “trawled public records”. It also offered to publish a correction in the print article, but did not specify the exact wording.

 

Relevant Clause 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. 


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

 

Mediated Outcome 


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


9.    The publication offered to amend the headline of the online version to remove the term “pair” so it read as follows


“Credit card scam man ordered to repay £1m”  


10. The complainants said that this would resolve the matter to their 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: 14/09/2020

Date complaint concluded by IPSO: 06/12/2020