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Owner of pervert’s former home loses complaint against regional daily

IPSO_logo_newA woman living in the former home of a voyeur convicted of taking 80 photos up women’s skirts has had her complaint against a regional daily dismissed by the press regulator.

Katie Heaps claimed the Nottingham Post had inaccurately reported pervert James Jackson’s address as being Watnall Road, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

Jackson, 38, admitted voyeurism by recording a person doing a private act so he could get sexual gratification, as well as looking at images for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.

Ms Heaps complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation that the Post breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in its report of Jackson’s guilty plea at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

She claimed Jackson had confirmed in court that he no longer lived at that address, and she provided a letter from his solicitor confirming this, adding the reporter had later contacted the Crown Prosecution Service to confirm his new address.

The complainant said that she contacted the newspaper on the day the article was published, but was advised that they would not change the address unless she could provide a new one.

The Post provided its reporter’s shorthand note confirming Jackson’s address was Watnall Road, which had been read out in open court and was not disputed by the defendant.

The newspaper denied that the reporter had contacted the CPS to get the man’s new address, but the reporter did check the address given in court against the address on the court list as a matter of good practice.

It said that when the man was sentenced three weeks later, it covered the hearing and reported, as was confirmed in court on this occasion, that he was of no fixed abode.

A footnote confirmed the change of address.

IPSO found the reporter had been entitled to rely on the information contained in the official court list, and in any event no house number was published.

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

Other recent IPSO cases involving regional newspapers include:

Bakehouse v Bristol Post

Vicki Bakehouse complained that the Bristol Post breached Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) in articles which reported that a body of a man had been found in a river in Bristol, and that police believed that the deceased was her brother Andrew Bakehouse.

She was concerned that it was insensitive for the first article to have reported that her brother had died, before formal identification had taken place, that it was insensitive and irrelevant for a second article to have referred to his convictions and for both articles to have included details of her brother’s mental health.

The complainant added she felt the Post’s decision to publish the second article before she had confirmed to the paper whether she would comment, following an approach by one of its journalists, was insensitive.

The Post said that the first article had been published on the basis of a press release issued by the police which had been published online and had named the complainant’s brother. The release stated that while formal identification had not been completed, his next of kin had been informed of the death.

The details included about Mr Bakehouse’s previous convictions and mental health had previously been disclosed in open court, the complainant did not appear upset or concerned over its report approach, and said that the subsequent publication of the article was not insensitive or unsympathetic.

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

Gerrard v Liverpool Echo and Gerrard v Runcorn Weekly News

John Gerrard complained that the Liverpool Echo and Runcorn Weekly News breached Clause 3 (Privacy) and Clause 4 (Harassment) in articles which published a list of local councillors’ attendance at meetings.

The complainant had reportedly attended 17pc of six meetings in a given period in 2015, adding the complainant had cancer and had undergone several operations.

Mr Gerrard said while he had informed a journalist that he had cancer, they had not sought specific consent to publish his comments. Not all of his family members had known of his diagnosis, and the publication of the information had caused him severe distress.

About two months after publication of the article the journalist contacted the council press office and said that he had been informed that the complainant did not in fact have cancer, and he was considering publishing a story to that effect.

The complainant said that contacting the press office about a health matter without consent, and proposing to run a story which accused him of lying about his illness, intruded into his privacy, and the combination of the published article, the proposed article, and an approach by the journalist at a recent council meeting, constituted harassment.

The newspapers said the journalist had spoken to the complainant on the telephone and had also emailed him.

They provided a copy of the emails between the journalist and the complainant, in which the journalist had said that he was preparing a story about local councillor attendance, and was giving people an opportunity to explain the reasons for low attendance in advance. The complainant had responded with the details which were later published.

Following the journalist’s enquiries into Mr Gerrard’s he had had been satisfied that there was no issue to pursue, and his approaches did not constitute harassment.

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