AddThis SmartLayers

Regional title agrees to take down story after convict’s IPSO complaint

A regional title has agreed to remove a story about an offender caught with indecent images of children following an IPSO complaint despite defending the accuracy of its coverage.

The Falkirk Herald has voluntarily agreed to delete a story about an offender who had pleaded guilty to the possession of indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children.

The agreement has been made after the offender, who suffers from autism, complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the story, although the Herald maintained in its defence that it was an accurate report.

The case bears similarities to that of arsonist Nicola Clayton, who last month succeeded in getting Lancs Live to remove a story about her conviction after she made a complaint to IPSO.


The Herald’s story included quotes from the defence solicitor who said the offender would have had “material regarding genocide in Rwanda on his devices” and also mentioned he had kept the indecent images and not “follow[ed] through on reporting them” to the authorities.

Complaining under Clauses 1 (Accuracy), 2 (Privacy), 9 (Reporting of crime) and 12 (Discrimination) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, the complainant alleged the Herald had reported what was said in court inaccurately, and that it had not been stated by a solicitor that he had material on his devices relating to the Rwandan genocide.

He instead said that this was a topic of interest to him, as were many other controversial subjects, and disputed that he kept the indecent images of the children without “following through on reporting them” to the authorities, noting he had reported them to Twitter.

The offender further claimed to omit details of his autism was misleading and that he was being discriminated against because of his condition, while the publication of the story and his address represented a breach of privacy.

Denying any breach of Code, the Herald provided contemporaneous notes from the reporter, who was present in court, to support its position.

It also said the omission of information about the offender’s autism was in line with the requirements of Clause 12, which states that reference to protected characteristics should only be made when genuinely relevant.

The Herald added his address had been made public in court and it was therefore entitled to publish it, noting the story was a court report in accordance with the principle of open justice.

However, after IPSO began an investigation into the matter, the newspaper offered to remove the story from its website in May 2023, when the offender would no longer have to notify prospective employers of his conviction.

The complainant said that this would resolve the matter to his satisfaction and IPSO therefore discontinued its investigation. The full resolution statement can be read here.