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Complainant Name:
A couple

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: South London Mercury

Complaint:

A couple complained that a court report covering their sixteen year old son’s hearing for planning and carrying out an attack on his family contained inaccuracies. They said that, contrary to the claims in the article, the court did not hear the following pieces of information: that their son was a ‘fantasist; that he was ‘obsessed’ with video and fantasy games; that he was ‘gifted’ in school; that he asked them ‘repeatedly’ in the weeks leading up to the incident how he could become a millionaire; and that he believed if his family died he would benefit from their inheritance. The complainants also said that the court did not hear that their twelve year old son ‘escaped’ from the house; or that he was left ‘severely disabled’.

Resolution:

The group editor defended the points raised by the complainants but agreed to annotate the newspaper’s records with their concerns so that the journalist covering the sentencing would be aware of the details under complaint. The editor also made clear that she intended the sentencing report to be ‘fair and accurate’, taking into account the specific matters (any remarks regarding their son’s character; any reference to the support of his loving family; any reference to mental health issues; the damage caused by emotive language; and the damage caused by violent or sexual details) to which the complainants had made reference. The editor said the newspaper’s aim would be to report the matter in a manner that minimised distress to the family.

Report: 73



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