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Paper was right to name defendant's mother-in-law in assault case – PCC

A newspaper which named the mother-in-law of a defendant in an assault case has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Press Complaints Commission.

Ann Gloag complained on the grounds that she had nothing to do with the alleged crime.

Yet a ban on the defendant visiting the grounds of her home was part of the defendant’s bail conditions, something which the Perthshire Advertiser reported on.

She complained about an article “Gloag son-in-law denies assault”, published on May 22, which identified her as the relative of someone accused of a crime, which she claimed was in breach of Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) of the editors’ Code of Practice.

Her home, Kinfauns Castle, had a high profile due to a recent court case about the right-to-roam issue.

The complainant’s solicitors said she was not in any way involved in the alleged assault on her daughter, (the defendant’s wife), and had been out of the country when it took place. She was not named during the court proceedings, was not “genuinely relevant to the story” and should not, therefore, have been identified, she claimed.

The Commission threw out her complaint, saying that the relevance of her to the story had been established by virtue of her ownership of a property from which the defendant had been banned by a court.

It was satisfied that she was “genuinely relevant” to the story and found no breach of Clause 9.

The adjudication said: “It would in fact have been perverse for the article not to have referred to the complainant in circumstances where the newspaper was entitled to publish details of the court order – including the name of Kinfauns Castle – and where the complainant’s ownership of the castle had previously been well established in the public domain.

“Being related to the accused did not give her rights to anonymity that would otherwise not exist.”

The press watchdog had already considered a similar complaint against the Scottish Sun. It found no breach of the Code.