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Complainant Name:
Ms Diane Nicholas

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Independent


Ms Diane Nicholas complained to the Press Complaints Commission on behalf of her partner, Mark Lonnie, about an article which he considered to have been inaccurate and misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainant said it was not the case that Mark Lonnie was "arrested" after he assaulted a pupil, and she believed the image which accompanied the online version of the report - showing an infant child - misled readers as to the nature of the incident.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the removal of the online image, the amendment of the online article at several points, and the publication of the following corrections:

Contrary to an article of 9 June, we understand that Mark Lonnie was not arrested prior to his caution in 2009 for assaulting a teenage pupil who he believed was about to attack him. Mr Lonnie had not worked with children in the years after the incident (until a recent spell of supply teaching), as our piece may have implied. We are glad to clarify matters.

This article has been amended. It originally implied that Mr Lonnie had continued to teach in the years after the incident which led to his sacking. In fact, he did not work with children until taking up some supply teaching shortly before the NCTL panel hearing. The piece also stated that Mr Lonnie had been arrested prior to receiving a caution in 2009. In fact, we understand that he was not arrested. In addition, the item was originally accompanied by a stock image of a primary age child who appeared upset and meek. The child involved in the incident being reported was a teenager at a secondary school for children with behavioural difficulties. The NCTL panel noted that the child was physically larger than Mr Lonnie and that Mr Lonnie had acted under genuine fear of "imminent attack". The image has been removed and the text updated to reflect additional details about the incident .

Date Published: 28/08/2014

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