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Complainant Name:
Mr Iain McElhone

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Journal (Newcastle)


Mr Iain McElhone of County Durham complained to the Press Complaints Commission that a report of his acquittal on racial harassment charges was inaccurate on a number of points. He said that, during his trial, he had been asked why he might have made a scratching gesture towards the plaintiff. He said that no gesture had been made but said that, hypothetically, he might have scratched himself as the result of suffering from eczema. Subsequently, CCTV footage played to the court showed no scratching gesture had been made. However, he said that the report of the case failed to make this sequence of events clear so that readers would be left with the impression that he had admitted to scratching his armpits. It was also wrong to suggest that the case had heard allegations of monkey noises being made.


The matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated publication of the following statement, under the heading ‘Correction. Iain McElhone':

We have been asked to point out that in a report from Newcastle Crown Court on October 23, 2009, regarding the trial of former Derwentside District Councillor Iain McElhone, he maintained that he never made a scratching gesture in the direction of Kulwinder Singh Sidhu. When asked in court why he might have scratched his armpits, Mr McElhone said that ‘if' such a thing had occurred, it might have been because of eczema. CCTV footage seen subsequently by the court showed there was no scratching. A claim that Mr McElhone made monkey noises was not made in court. We are happy to clarify the matter.

Date Published: 30/07/2010

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