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Watchdog rejects council worker’s complaint about interview with alleged stalker

NewIPSOA council worker has had her complaint over a weekly newspaper’s article about her alleged stalker rejected by the press watchdog.

Gail Allison went to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the piece the Irvine Times ran about the man, a former colleague of hers at North Ayrshire Council.

The resulting story was a first-person account by the man, who had faced charges under sections 38 and 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 and who “claim[ed] his life has been ruined after North Ayrshire Council employees accused him of stalking”.

Ms Allison, who was represented by her employer in the complaint to IPSO, claimed the Times had breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

She claimed the article was unbalanced because it portrayed the man as having his life ruined without demonstrating the seriousness of his offences, and also said it contained a number of inaccuracies.

Denying a breach of Code, the Times said the man was entitled to talk about his experiences, and the article was clearly presented as his account, rather than as a court report.

The newspaper added it had put the man’s comments on his experience to the council prior to publication, but the authority had declined to provide any comment or rebuttal.

IPSO found the article was a subjective first-hand account of the man’s experience of the criminal justice system, which the newspaper was entitled to publish, and found there were no significant inaccuracies in the piece.

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