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Complainant Name:
Bob Lacey OBE

Clauses Noted: 9

Publication: Eastbourne Gazette


Councillor Bob Lacey OBE of Eastbourne Borough Council complained on behalf of Councillor Mrs Ann Murray that an article headlined "Tory son's drink-drive disgrace" published in the Eastbourne Gazette on 8 July 1998 identified her in breach of Clause 10 (Innocent relatives and friends) of the Code of Practice. The front-page article was accompanied by a photograph of Mrs Murray. The complainant said that the article identified Mrs Murray in breach of Clause 10 and he complained that the photograph further made her the focus of the story.

The editor said that Mrs Murray was a prominent figure in the local community who had also spoken out about family values. He suggested that he could have been accused of political bias had the newspaper concealed Mrs Murray's identity.



In previous cases when the Commission has considered complaints under this clause it has had regard to the tone of the article and the extent to which the focus is on the innocent relative. The Commission in this case considered that the prominence that had been accorded to Mrs Murray was unnecessary and regretted the resulting distress that had been caused to her. While the Commission considered that there would indeed have been a public interest in mentioning Mrs Murray in the article - given her local standing and the fact that she had appeared in court with her son - it did not see how the public interest was served by making her so obviously the focus of the story.

The complaint was upheld.


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