A complaint about a regional daily’s coverage of an inquest by the sister of a suicide victim has been dismissed by the press regulator.
Ana Kaminska complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Southen Daily Echo breached Clause 3 (Privacy), Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in an article headlined “Mother watched son’s fatal jump on her birthday,” published on 2 June.
The article covered the inquest of her brother Jurijus Trofimovas, and reported that the coroner recorded a verdict of suicide after the court was told that he had “jumped head-first from his fourth-floor window.”
It also named the family members and friends present at the party, including the complainant’s younger brother, who is a child.
The complainant said that the publication of the partial address of the property where the incident had taken place, and the names of those present, in particular her younger brother, was a failure to respect their private lives.
She also said the article reported in excessive detail the way in which her brother had died and the family had not been asked whether they consented to the article’s publication, while she also considered that the reference to her family’s nationality breached Clause 12.
In its response, the Echo said that it was entitled to publish information disclosed during proceedings at the Coroner’s Court and the Code does not impose a requirement to seek consent from family members before publication.
The newspaper did not accept that reference to the family’s nationality raised a breach of Clause 12, given that this detail was heard during proceedings.
In its ruling, IPSO said it understood that publication of the family and friends’ names and partial address had caused the complainant concern, particularly that of her younger brother.
But it said these details were disclosed during the court proceedings and were a matter of public record.
The complaints committee said the details about Mr Trofimovas’ death were not excessive and the article had not made prejudicial or pejorative reference to the nationality of the complainant or his family.
The full adjudication can be read here.
IPSO has also ruled on the case of Lynn Jones, acting on her own behalf and for Amanda Evans, who complained that the Wrexham Leader breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 9 (Reporting of crime) of the Code in an article headlined “Victim pulled kitchen knife out of stomach”, published on 24 February.
The article was a report of criminal proceedings against Miss Jones and reported that Mold Crown Court heard that she had stabbed Miss Evans following an altercation.
The complainant said that that article inaccurately reported that the court was told she had “fallen off the wagon” prior to the incident; “punched” Miss Evans before stabbing her; and had told attending police officers “yeah I did it.”
She also said that it inaccurately reported that the incident had taken place on 7 November, when in fact it was on 2 November, and a photo published of her intruded into her privacy.
Miss Jones also said that Miss Evans had been named, which she believed was in breach of Clause 9.
The newspaper said it was normal practice to name individuals involved in the case and the court had heard that Miss Jones “fell off the wagon”.
However, it acknowledged there were inaccuracies in the report and offered to publish the following correction and apology:
“A report of Mold Crown Court proceedings published in the Wrexham Leader on February 24 contained inaccuracies.
“In a report headlined ‘Victim pulled kitchen knife out of stomach’ it was wrongly stated that the victim was “punched” when the court was told she was “pushed.”
“Having been arrested, the defendant had responded to police “yeah I did” rather than “yeah I did it” and the offence took place on November 2 and not November 7. We apologise for these errors.”
IPSO did not uphold the complaint and the full adjudication can be read here.