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Firm claimed court articles 'damaged reputation'

Three regional newspapers have made changes to online articles after a complaint by a chemicals company about a court case.

Michael Pickard from TS Chemicals complained to the Press Complaints Commission after articles in the Manchester Evening News, Lancashire Telegraph and the Rossendale Free Press.

The stories reported a former employee of the company had won a court case against a solicitors firm for failing to pursue his compensation claim for work-related health problems.

But Mr Pickard said the articles implied the employee had been treated unfairly by TS Chemicals, when that was not the case, dates of employment had been inaccurately reported and the company’s reputation had been damaged by the articles.

In response, the newspapers explained the information had been disclosed in open court.

The PCC helped in resolving the claim by negotiating the removal of the article from the Rossendale Free Press website, while the company’s name was removed from the Manchester Evening News online article.

The Lancashire Telegraph amended its online article to reflect the correct dates of employment and added a statement from a company spokesman, which said:

“As a responsible chemical company, TS Chemicals contract an external Occupational Health Service to carry out routine health checks on our employees. Mr Schofield was regularly assessed by this service and there was nothing to suggest that he should cease working at TS Chemicals.

“Mr Schofield was also supplied with the correct Personal Protective Equipment for his job and he was fully trained to enable him to carry out his job safely.

“TS Chemicals considers itself to be a reputable company and we endeavour to ensure our workforce is treated fairly and responsibly at all times.”

A woman complained her name had been used in a newspaper article against her wishes.

She was unhappy about an article in the Milton Keynes Citizen reporting on a series of burglaries in the area, which named her as a witness to one of the incidents.

But the woman complained she had made it clear to the paper she did not want her name included and maintained she had not said a number of the quotes.

The newspaper said it was not aware of her wish for her name to be omitted and its reporter’s notes backed up the majority of the quotes attributed to her.

However, it accepted the location of the incident discussed by the complainant was inaccurately reported and offered to publish a clarification on this point, while the online version of the article was also removed.

The woman did not want anything further to be published on the matter and the complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated an assurance her name would not appear again in the paper or online in relation to the burglaries.

A complaint about an article relating to an accident at a Northern Ireland race track has been resolved after a clarification was published.

Mr Matthew Lyness, of Kirkistown motor racing circuit, complained about an article published in the Newtownards Chronicle on 25 March.

He said the newspaper failed to make clear a spanner and stone had not been found on the race track and that it had been checked before the session.

The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following clarification:

“On 25 March, we published a report of an accident that took place at Kirkistown.

“In the report, we stated that a spanner and stone lying on the track may have been the cause of the crash.

“We are happy to make clear the track had been checked prior to the session and that the spanner and stone had not been found on the track, but near the tyre wall on the grass some distance from where the rider fell.”

A woman complained to the PCC the Pocklington Post had inaccurately stated she was due to appear in court when charges against her had been dropped.

Susan Pearman was unhappy about an article saying she was due to appear at a magistrates court charged with driving without due care and attention.

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper, which said it had simply reported information received from the courts, agreed to publish the following statement:

“We previously reported that Ms Susan Pearman, 54, of Jenkins Close, Pocklington, was facing charges of driving without due care and attention on Yapham Road at Fangfoss.

“We understand that all charges against her have now been dropped.”