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Complainant Name:
Mr Vincent Hill

Clauses Noted: 3

Publication: Yorkshire Evening Post


Mr Vincent Hill of West Yorkshire complained that a report in the Yorkshire Evening Post on 10 May 1996 about his recent appearance at the Magistrates' Court headlined "Drink-drive ban" gave the name of his street and district which in view of his job as a prison officer thereby invaded his privacy, in breach of Clause 4 (Privacy) of the Code of Practice.

The complainant explained that while no request was made of the press by the magistrates not to print his address, a colleague asked the reporter not to publish for reasons of security. However, the parties' recollections differed as to the detail given during that conversation to illustrate the importance of security based on the nature of the complainant's work and past experiences. The complainant said that the request was made in front of both the prosecuting solicitor and his own. The newspaper did not accept or deny this but replied that its news desk did not consider there were special reasons why publication of the address should be withheld, and emphasised that no formal request was made to the court.

Not Upheld


The Commission recognised that the application of addresses to names is one of the essential ways in which the press identify people involved in court or tribunal proceedings and that publication puts such information in the public domain. In some cases the press's privilege in this respect may be circumscribed by the courts and editors must accordingly exercise careful discretion. However, in this case there was no formal request made to the court that the complainant's identity or address should be kept confidential.

The Commission did not find the newspaper in breach of the Code. The question for consideration by the Commission might have been whether there was any evidence to suggest that the complainant was facing any greater risk to his or his family's personal security than would otherwise have been the case. While the complainant gave reasons to the Commission why he should not be further identified by the inclusion of his address, it was unclear whether these were given in full to the newspaper. However the Commission considered that he or his solicitors should have made a request to the court that the information should be withheld if he did not wish it to come into the public domain.

The complaint was therefore rejected.


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