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Newspaper's apology over inquest inaccuracies

Below are summaries of the latest complaints involving the regional press which have been resolved between the parties involved, with help from the Press Complaints Commission.

MK News
Emma Davidson, of Northants, complained that an inquest report into her father’s death contained inaccuracies. She made the following points: that it was not confirmed that her father had spent 12 hours drinking at the railway club where he spent the day preceding his death; that the coroner did not describe her father as an “alcoholic”; that her father was retired rather than unemployed; and that her mother was misquoted in the article. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following apology to the complainant:
“Patrick Davidson
“In our edition of May 28 we ran a story on the opening of an inquest into the death of Patrick Davidson. Within that article, we stated that Mr Davidson was an alcoholic. We would like to point out that at no point did the inquest mention that he was an alcoholic only that he liked a drink and drank regularly.
“There was also no evidence to suggest he had been drinking for 12 hours only that he had been in the Railway Club from 11.30am to 11.30pm. A full inquest into his death will take place in September. We would like to apologise for any distress caused by this article.”

Warwick Guardian
A woman complained that an article about the decision to overturn her son’s exclusion from Myton School had stated as fact that he had held a BB gun to another pupil’s head. In fact, this was an allegation; an independent appeal panel had decided to reinstate him. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a clarification in the following terms:
“Myton School exclusion – a clarification
“On May 23 we reported that a boy, who had been excluded from Myton School, had held a BB gun, an imitation firearm, to another pupil’s head. We have been asked to point out that this accusation formed a major part of the appeal hearing to review the boy’s permanent exclusion, and that the decision of the appeal panel to reinstate him was in large measure due to the unreliability of evidence behind that accusation. We apologise for not making it clear that this incident was an allegation and not a confirmed fact as our article implied.”

The Herald (Glasgow)
Peter Zimonjic, an author, complained that a review inaccurately suggested that he had “fabricated” information. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following correction:
“In a review of Into the Darkness: An Account of 7/7 by Peter Zimonjic, published in ABC on Saturday April 12, it was stated that much of the book was fabricated. We accept that this was not the case and that describing the book in these terms was erroneous, unfair and misleading. We are happy to set the record straight”.

Crawley News
James Day, of Crawley, complained on behalf of a group of four other individuals that the newspaper’s coverage of the tragic death of Kieran Lindsey – who died having taken ecstasy at a party – was inaccurate and misleading in regard to the circumstances in which he died. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a letter in which the group’s version of events on the evening in question was outlined in full.

Croydon Guardian
Tim Cowen, director of communications at NCP Services, complained that an article about the organisation contained inaccuracies. He raised the following central concerns: the sources for claims in the article were agency workers, who had not been directly employed by NCP Services; there were no matters outstanding dating back to 2006; and there was not a backlog of 5,000 tickets, as had been claimed. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the complainant’s response, containing the following central points: the complainant believed that the sources for the article were agency staff; it was untrue that managers at the call centre did not take calls; all calls had to be returned within 24 hours; there was no backlog of tickets; and there were no unresolved matters dating back to 2006.

Press Association
Stephanie Faulkner complained that an item published by the Press Association regarding an ongoing trial involving her son, James King, gave her address as his place of residence. She said that her son had never lived at her address and never could, given that it was in a retirement complex where residents had to be aged over 60. (Clause 1).

Resolution: The editor of PA said that the information about Mr King’s address had been used in good faith after it came from police and was said in court. However, in view of the complainant’s representation he was happy to give an assurance that the address would not be republished in future coverage.

Cambridge Evening News
Jonathan Farrar of Cambridge complained that an inquest report into the death of his brother intruded into his grief. (Clauses 1, 5).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper removed the article from its website.

Salford Advertiser
Michael Todd, a former prison officer, complained that –following a report outlining that he had been suspended in regard to allegations of corruption after a national newspaper undercover investigation – the newspaper had failed to make clear that the police had decided to take no further action. (Clauses: None).

Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a follow-up article making the position clear.