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Watchdog clears regionals as complaints against nationals upheld

IPSO_logo_newAn accountant convicted of trademark offences has had complaints against two regional newspapers’ reporting of her case dismissed, while grievances against three national titles were upheld.

Maddison Hawk complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Oxford Mail and Witney Gazette had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in articles which reported she had admitted four trademark offence charges on behalf of her company, as well as one offence of selling a product which breached safety regulations.

They said that she had been fined more than £8,000 as a result.

The complainant said it was inaccurate to say she had pleaded guilty, claiming she had done so on behalf of her company.

The newspapers provided a copy of the court register, which stated that the complainant had pleaded guilty, as an individual, to failing to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

Neither complaint was upheld, and the full adjudications can be read here and here.

However her complaints under Clause 1 against the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Metro were upheld by IPSO.

All three had suggested she had funded £25,000 worth of cosmetic procedures through the sale of faulty goods, which was inaccurate.

Both the Mail and Metro accepted no such suggestion had been heard in court, while the Mirror told IPSO it had relied on agency copy for the story.

Other recent IPSO cases involving regional newspapers include:

Oakes v Press and Journal

Tina Oakes complained on behalf of her son, Robert Oakes, that the Press and Journal, Aberdeen, had breached Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article which reported Mr Oakes, a policeman, had been charged with fighting and threatening members of the public.

The complainant was concerned the article had included her son’s full address.

In response, the Press and Journal said his address had been listed in publicly available court documents.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.

Ozer v the Sunday Mail

Aksoy Ozer complained the Sunday Mail, Glasgow, had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) and Clause 4 (Harassment) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in articles concerning the two-year police investigation into the murder of Emma Caldwell.

The investigation involved an extensive surveillance operation that led to the arrest and charge of four Turkish men, all of whom were held on remand but were later released before facing trial.

The complainant, a former policeman who had contributed to the translation of the conversations between the Turkish suspects, said the newspaper had inaccurately reported that the case had failed as a result of questions regarding the accuracy of the translations. He said the case had collapsed because he had made allegations of police misconduct.

The Mail said it believed that it was beyond dispute that apparently incriminating admissions made during conversations between the Turkish suspects had been crucial evidence in the case, and that concerns surrounding the accuracy and interpretation of the translations had helped to halt the case against the four men.

However it accepted that more than one officer had been involved in translating and corroborating the contents of the surveillance tapes, and it considered that its original article should have been more explicit in this regard.

The Mail amended its online version of the stories and offered to print a clarification and an interview with the complainant, which he did not accept.

The complaint was not upheld, and the full adjudication can be read here.