London, 8th January 2015
The UK Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), which was previously the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has today upheld a second complaint filed by Brian Goudie in relation to an article written by British journalist Andrew Drummond in 'The Scotsman' newspaper last year.
The IPSO complaints committee found that the article contained a 'significant' inaccuracy.
Following the complaint by Goudie, IPSO investigated claims that Drummond had submitted an article to the publication that Goudie in his complaint alleged had breached the Editor's Code of Practice, a regulatory framework that lays out the requirement for newspapers and journalists to accurately report news stories.
The main complaint was that Drummond had had failed to report a successful Court appeal by Goudie, and that Drummond had fabricated an allegation that Goudie had received a payment of GBP 60,000 for legal services from a UK expat, John Jepson.
In finding that the article was inaccurate the IPSO complaints committee found as follows:
The Committee first considered the complainant’s concern that the article had contained inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (i) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, which states that “the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures”. The complainant had stated that, contrary to information reported in the article, no payment had been made to him by John Jepson, and that the case referred to in the article had been withdrawn. He further stated that it was misleading for the article not to make clear that the decision of the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal, in which the complainant had been described as “not a person of honest character”, had subsequently been set aside. The Committee noted the existence of official documentation supporting the complainant’s position on these points, notably the judgment of Spender, Drummond and Mansfield in Goldie v Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs. This had made clear that the original decision had been set aside, and this document was available to the newspaper. As such, the Committee considered that the newspaper had failed to take care not to publish inaccurate information in breach of Clause 1 (i). It further considered that the inaccuracies contained within the article, the failure to report that the AAT decision has been set aside, and the reference to a payment that had not been made, were significant such that a correction would be required under the terms of Clause 1 (ii), which state that “a significant inaccuracy once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence”.
Goudie said today:
' I would like to thank the Independent Press Standards Organisation for their diligence in investigating this matter.
Whilst I have filed cases in Court, it is in my view substantially more appropriate that Drummond be censured by his peers.
The fabrication in the article that John Jepson had made any payment was disgraceful.
The editor of The Scotsman admitted early in the the piece that Drummond had provided them with inaccurate information, and I understand a retraction will now be printed.
This decision by IPSO today merely serves to confirm what I have said all along which is that Andrew Drummond does not write accurately then refuses to correct his errors'.
Lawyers for Goudie in Bangkok today said they would now consider whether or not the editor of the Scotsman and Drummond could be jointly prosecuted under the provisions of Thailand's tough Computer Crimes Act.