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Complainant Name:
A woman

Clauses Noted: 3, 9

Publication: Southern Daily Echo


A woman from Southampton complained that a report in the Southern Daily Echo on 1 August 1997, concerning her 17 year old son's court appearance, at which he pleaded guilty to attempting to murder her, had also named her infant son, in breach of Clauses 4 (Privacy) and 11 (Innocent relatives and friends) of the Code of Practice.

The newspaper replied that no order was made banning the identification of anyone involved in the case. The infant brother had been mentioned in evidence because the complainant had asked the defendant to look after him just before the attack took place. In the newspaper's view the report did not damage the infant who was too young to be affected by it and it would have been impossible to give adequate coverage without referring to him. It was not the newspaper's intention to add to the complainant's anguish but it had been in the public interest to cover the case.

Not Upheld


The Commission noted that no order was made by the court and that the details of the case were in the public domain. It had to consider how far the naming of the infant son added to his identification. Given that the names and ages of the mother and 17 year old son and their partial address were given in the piece, and that the report was of a public hearing, the Commission considered it immaterial whether the infant was named since he would, in any case, have been identified from the published details about other family members.

The complaint was rejected.


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