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Complainant Name:
Ms Diane Bamford

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Louth Target

Complaint:

Ms Diane Bamford, the aunt of Shane Billinger, complained on behalf of his family that the newspaper’s coverage of the court case where he and five others had been convicted of causing injury to Robert King contained inaccuracies. The complainant’s central concern was that the coverage had not made the nature of the fight that had led to the injury clear: it had been a fight between two groups of men; and the newspaper had failed to report that the judge had commented that it started as an ‘exchange of words’. The complainant was also concerned over the description of her nephew and the other defendants as ‘thugs’. She emphasised that Mr King had not been ‘left for dead’, as one of the defendants had put him in the recovery position and stayed with him until police arrived. Further, the newspaper had not set out that Shane Billinger had handed himself in to police.

Resolution:

The complaint was resolved when the newspaper published a number of further articles on the matter. These set out that Shane Billinger’s regret and apology for his part in the night: he had said that ‘I deeply regret, that under the influence of alcohol, I made that one punch. I cannot apologise enough for my part in what happened that night. It was totally out of character and I have not been involved in anything like it’. The coverage also quoted the family of Mr Billinger, who hoped that lessons would be learned by others about the perils of binge drinking. Further, it made clear that the fight had started as a heated verbal exchange, and that one of the defendants had put Mr King in the recovery position.

Report: 77



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