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Complainant Name:
Mr Iain McElhone

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Northern Echo


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.


The matter was resolved when the PCC negotiated publication of the following statement, under the heading ‘Clarification':

Last year we reported that Ian McElhone of near Shotley Bridge, Consett, Co Durham, was found not guilty of making a racist gesture near a shop in Briardale in November 2008 (not December as previously reported). We have been asked to make clear that Mr McElhone denied making any sort of scratching gesture during the incident. 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 did not provide any evidence of a gesture having been made.

Date Published: 26/08/2010

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