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Complainant Name:
A man

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: Harrogate Advertiser


A man complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published an inaccurate headline to his letter, which would mislead readers as to his position.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of a further letter from the complainant:

My letter printed in the October 28 edition was intended to provoke some debate and certainly seems to have down so. I must say that I was disappointed by the Advertiser's poorly chosen tagline that misrepresented my comments before anybody had even read than - nowhere in my letter did I refer to ‘children' or use the word ‘terrified'.

I understand that those arrested over the arson attack were in their late teens. There is no law against them being out in town at that hour as many law abiding young (and older) people enjoy the Harrogate nightlife.

The four people released without charge have been exonerated of any involvement in this incident. From accounts I have heard the first they knew of an arson incident in the Valley Gardens was when they were confronted by the police and told they were suspected of involvement. They were then taken to the police station (possibly in handcuffs) where they spent several hours in the cells despite having committed no crime. I know how I would have felt in their shoes.

Perhaps their detention was a necessary evil but the fact that a local councillor implies that the arrest of innocent teenagers on what appears to be flimsy grounds is a good thing and that several readers have so little sympathy is something I find quite unsettling.

Not knowing any of the lads concerned personally I can't claim to speak for them. Perhaps they are shrugging off their time in custody as an annoying inconvenience. Perhaps they were quite upset and humiliated at being locked up for something they didn't do. We always have to tick both sides to the story.

The following editors' note was also added to the letter:

The headline in the writer's first letter of October 28 was incorrect as he referred to teenagers who might have been frightened rather than children who must have been terrified and we are happy to publish this letter by way of correction.

Date Published: 12/01/2012

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