AddThis SmartLayers

Newspapers issue clarifications over court report

Two daily newspapers and a website which published court reports on the sentencing of two drug dealers have issued corrections to their stories.

Sean McGrath complained to the Press complaints Commission over a series of reports on the case which appeared in The News, Portsmouth, the Guernsey Press and Star, and news website London24.

He said each publisher had wrongly reported that he had worked for the two drug dealers . He also expressed concern that the article had given the inaccurate impression that events had taken place at a university halls of residence.

Mr McGrath compained to the PCC under Clause 1 of the Editors’ Code of Practice, which covers accuracy.

The PCC said the complaints were resolved when it negotiated the publication of corrections in each of the newspapers and also online.

A clarification published on London24 and in the Press and Star read as follows:

“A Press Association report of the sentencing of drug dealers Roy Sawyers and Carlos Wilmot at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday, October 11 wrongly stated that one of their victims, Sean McGrath, was bullied into working for them.

“We would like to make clear that this was not the case.

“Mr McGrath, a student and housemate of the defendants’ other victim Nathaniel Smith, was blamed by Sawyers for allowing the tenancy on their address to run out.

“Mr McGrath was beaten by Sawyers, who also forced Mr Smith to cut his friend, Mr McGrath, with a knife.”

A slightly differently-worded correction appeared in The News, Portsmouth.

It read: “A court report published in the News on October 11 under the headline ‘Drug dealers jailed for savage beating of university student’ detailed how Carlos Wilmot and Roy Sawyers had beaten and tortured University of Portsmouth student Nathaniel Smith after forcing him to act as their drugs runner.

“The article described how Sawyers had also assaulted Sean McGrath, who we said had also been forced to distribute and deliver drugs. We would like to clarify that Mr McGrath had not been used by Wilmot and Sawyers for this purpose.

“We would also like to point out that Mr Smith was not staying in a room in the university’s halls of residence at the time he was a victim of the offences.

“We are happy to set the record straight and apologise for any wrong impression created.”