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Complainant Name:
Councillor Brian Gibson

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Northern Echo


Councillor Brian Gibson complained to the Press Complaints Commission under Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice, about an article which reported on an incident involving the police at a meeting of Ferryhill Town Council.


The complaint was resolved after the PCC negotiated the publication of the following clarification:

"On October 12, The Northern Echo published an article reporting that police officers were called to Ferryhill Town Council to eject councillors Brian Gibson and Tommy Garrett after a row broke out.

The report included the fact that both men left the meeting peacefully when three police officers arrived to resolve the dispute, and we would like to re-emphasise that this was the case.

It also accurately quoted council leader Pat McCourt as saying Councillor Gibson's behavior "was upsetting some members and a member of staff had felt bullied and intimidated."

Our reporter called Councillor Gibson to make him aware that Councillor McCourt had said the police were called because of the atmosphere created by the behavior of the two members.

In the interest of resolving a complaint that has been made to the Press Complaints Commission, the Northern Echo is happy to report that Councillor Gibson was not made aware that Councillor McCourt had described that behaviour as "bullying" until after they were published. The Northern Echo is also happy to report that Councillor Gibson strongly denies the said allegations."

Date Published: 15/01/2013

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