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.
John Dwyer of Great Bookham complained that the headline ‘Travellers linked to Demko murder case’ and first paragraph of the article had misleadingly claimed that “travellers” were directly involved in Matthew Demko’s death when this was not the case. (Clause 1)
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a clarification and apology headlined ‘Travellers – an apology’ in a suitably prominent position. The wording was as follows:
“In an article headlined ‘Travellers linked to Demko murder case’ (29 January 2009), we stated that members of the travelling community may have been involved in the murder of Matthew Demko.
The defence for Michael Jordan – the accused party who has now been acquitted of the crime – did state in court that a police officer involved in the investigation had claimed that members of the travelling community had been in the area.
“We wish to make clear that while the case is still unsolved, using the word traveller in the headline was too strong for the article. We are happy to clarify this position and apologise for any offence caused.”
Mr and Mrs Bachitter Singh Narwan complained, through a solicitor, that the newspaper had inaccurately reported that their business (Lee’s Off-licence, Barrhead) had been investigated for selling alcohol to underage children. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a clarification and apology in the following terms:
“Lees Off Licence
“On 21 January 2009 the Barrhead News published an article ‘Local off-licences targeted in underage drinking sting’. Within this report we named Lees Off Licence, Main Street, Barrhead, as one of the shops targeted by police officers. We wish to make it clear that Lee’s Off Licence was not the subject of a report to the Procurator Fiscal following an alleged incident on January 17 2009.
“The 35-year-old man reported to Procurator Fiscal for allegedly supplying alcohol to underage children is not connected in any way to Lee’s Off Licence. We wish to apologise to the owner of Lees Off-Licence for any offence caused by our report.”
Northants Evening Telegraph
Tom Watts of Perranporth complained that a series of articles about the recently-unveiled tributes to Irthlingborough contained a number of inaccuracies. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved by the publication of the following clarification and apology:
“It has been brought to our attention that our recent series of articles about the tributes to Irthlingborough cinema contained a number of inaccuracies.
“First, while Geoffrey Watts was the proprietor of Irthlingborough cinema and two others in the area, we wish to clarify that these three cinemas were previously owned by his father, Alfred Watts, from 1924 until his death in 1938 at which point Geoffrey, and his sisters took over until they closed in 1960.
“We also wish to point out that it was Tom Watts, the son of Geoffrey, who unveiled the board at Irthlingborough Library – as well as two plaques at the old cinema site – and not John Farrar as reported. We apologise for these inaccuracies, and for mistakenly referring to Tom as Malcolm and his father as George.”
Matthew Gregory complained that a comment piece about charity donations from the UK to developing countries contained inaccuracies. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published the following clarification and apology:
“In a comment article written by Nathan Rous on 15 September, titled ‘Let Charity Begin At Home’, we stated that Humberside received just £167,000 to help get itself back on its feet after last year’s floods. This figure in fact related to the amount given to Humberside Fire and Rescue Authority – the local authority also received a further figure of more than £5.6 million. We are happy to clarify this point and apologise for any confusion caused.”
Sale and Altrincham Messenger
Caroline Alcanter Goodall complained that a court report, which was originally published in March 1997 and which remained available on the newspaper’s online archive, contained inaccuracies. (Clause 1).
Resolution: The complaint was resolved when the newspaper – which made clear that the article was available only on its old portal which was no longer active – removed the report as a gesture of goodwill.