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Complainant Name:
Mr Edward Beever

Clauses Noted: 3, 9

Publication: News of the World


Mr Edward Beever, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, complained that an article headlined "Police sergeant's brother is evil hitman" published in the News of the World on 23 November 1997 intruded into his privacy in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) and identified him in breach of Clause 10 (Innocent Relatives and Friends) of the Code of Practice. The article alleged that the complainant's step-brother was a contract killer. The complainant said that he was unjustly mentioned in the article solely on account of his profession.

The newspaper explained that the complainant's step-brother had boasted that he had a relative in the police force which meant that he could take the law into his own hands. No critical reference was made about the complainant and it was made clear that he had no knowledge of his brother's alleged illegal activities. However, the close relationship between a policeman and an alleged "dangerous criminal" was clearly a matter of public interest.



The Commission considered whether the newspaper had sufficient justification for identifying the complainant as a relative of what it dubbed the "evil hitman" at the centre of the article. As the article had made clear, the complainant was completely ignorant of his step-brother's alleged activities. The story was an important one in itself and could have been written without identifying the complainant either in the text or in a photograph.

The complaint under Clause 10 was upheld.


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