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Complainant Name:
Charles Bonas and James Virgin

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Times


Charles Bonas and James Virgin complained to the Press Complaints Commission that the newspaper had published inaccurate, sensationalist and grossly distorted claims about their alleged personal and professional ties to Neil Heywood, a British businessman who had died in China, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.


During the course of the Commission's investigation, the newspaper published the following clarification and apology:

An article on the death of Neil Heywood ("Death in China: the Harrow connection", April 13) considered links between several individuals who were friends or contemporaries of Neil Heywood at Harrow and who had gone on to develop business interests, separately or together, in China after leaving the school. We now accept that the connections between Neil Heywood and those named in the article - Edmund Robb, Charles Bonas, Edward de la Billière and James Virgin - did not support our reference to a "gang" or "Group of Four", and we apologise for any offence these terms may have caused to those concerned. We have also been asked to clarify that the heading on a timeline of events leading to Neil Heywood's death ("From school to scandal") was not intended to suggest any impropriety on the part of the company set up by Mr Robb and Mr Bonas to place Chinese pupils at English public schools or Prospect Law, a law firm in which Mr Robb and Mr de la Billière are partners. We are happy to make this clear.

The complainants chose to resolve the matter on this basis.

Date Published: 08/08/2012

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