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Weekly cleared of wrongdoing over freelance’s court photos

daniel-hutchisonA weekly newspaper has been cleared of wrongdoing over photographs taken of a defendant and his partner outside court.

Daniel Hutchison, left, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation after a freelance journalist working for the Falkirk Herald photographed him and his partner after leaving court.

Hutchison claimed the Herald had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy), Clause 2 (Privacy), Clause 3 (Harassment), Clause 4 (Intrusion into grief or shock) and Clause 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice in four articles which reported on a series of court appearances he had made.

The complainant said that following his court appearance on 21 June, both he and his partner were “chased around the whole block” by the journalist outside of court in attempt to take photographs of him and his partner.

Hutchison said that he quoted from the harassment clause of the Editors’ Code when he was followed, but the journalist continued to take photographs.

He provided photographs of the journalist walking away from him and his partner and also alleged that since his appearance in court, the newspaper had been “snooping around his house”.

Hutchison also highlighted what he claimed were inaccuracies in the articles.

In response, the Herald provided IPSO with a roll of photographs taken by the journalist, who had followed the couple for 80 metres in order to get a usable photograph.

It said that the journalist did not hear either the complainant or his partner quote from the Editors’ Code, but stopped after Hutchison’s partner said something that he did not pick up, which might have been along the lines of “leave us be”.

None of the photos had been published, and the Herald denied visiting Hutchison’s home.

It further provided the reporter’s shorthand note, but said it was happy to carry a piece confirming an inaccuracy about a charge which was dropped.

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

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