Sunday Times apology for e-fit article and subsequent £55,000 payout

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Sunday Times apology for e-fit article and subsequent £55,000 payout Empty Sunday Times apology for e-fit article and subsequent £55,000 payout

Post  candyfloss on Sun 27 Sep 2015, 2:02 pm

As this is to do with the efits will put in here, the apology from the Sunday TImes and the subsequent payout of £55,000..

Sunday Times sued by McCanns over story which wrongly claimed evidence was withheld from police

The parents of missing child Madeleine McCann have sued The Sunday Times for libel over a story which they said gave the impression they had hindered the investigation into her disappearance.
According to publisher News UK the claim has been settled.
Kate and Gerry McCann took issue with a front-page story from last year, which the couple said suggested they had kept "secret from investigating authorities a crucial piece of evidence concerning the disappearance of their daughter".
In addition to the article, which was published on 27 October and remained online until 8 November, the McCanns also made reference to readers' comments left on the article - in High Court papers seen by Press Gazette.
The story, for which the paper apologised on 28 December, said: “The critical new evidence at the centre of Scotland Yard’s search for Madeleine McCann was kept secret for five years after it was presented to her parents by ex-MI5 investigators.”
The title reported that an intelligence report produced for the McCanns contained “crucial E-Fits” of a man who was identified as the prime suspect last year. The paper said that the “McCanns and their advisers sidelined the report and threatened to sue its authors if they divulged its contents”.
The Insight story also quoted a source close to the McCanns as saying that the report was “hyper-critical of the people involved”.
In their claim form, in which they were claiming unspecified damages, the McCanns said that the story was understood to mean that they had hindered "the search for [Madeleine] and the investigation into her disappearance by allowing the trail to go cold".
They said that the story led to them having “suffered serious damage to their reputations and severe embarrassment and distress”.
They also claimed that the paper's Insight team, which wrote the story, had not told their spokesman the full extent of the allegations which were to be made against them.
The McCanns also said that the story did not include several points made to Insight by their spokesman. They said this denied them "a proper opportunity to inform the readers of The Sunday Times of the falsity of the allegations against them".
On 1 November, the couple sent editor Martin Ivens an email headed: “Complaint letter – urgent”.
They said that the email, outlining what was wrong with the story with a “detailed rebuttal”, was responded to by executive editor Bob Tyrer six days later.
The McCanns said in their claim form that he told them “we could have made some facts clearer in the story” and that “we could have published more of your pre-publication statement” but largely rejected their complaint.
They said Tyrer offered them “three limited revisions” to the online article, publication of the statement from their spokesman and “an extremely limited” clarification in the corrections and clarifications column.
On 8 November Gerry McCann wrote back noting his disappointment that the article remained online and he pointed to the readers’ comments below.
The McCanns then consulted lawyers Carter Ruck, who wrote to The Sunday Times on 15 November “with proposed wording for an apology”.
The Sunday Times published the following apology on 28 December:
In articles dated October 27 ("Madeleine clues hidden for 5 years" and "Investigators had E-Fits five years ago", News) we referred to efits which were included in a report prepared by private investigators for the McCanns and the Fund in 2008. We accept that the articles may have been understood to suggest that the McCanns had withheld information from the authorities. This was not the case. We now understand and accept that the efits had been provided to the Portuguese and Leicestershire police by October 2009. We also understand that a copy of the final report including the efits was passed to the Metropolitan police in August 2011, shortly after it commenced its review. We apologise for the distress caused."

Gerry McCann attacks ‘disgraceful’ Sunday Times after £55k libel payout

Gerry McCann, the father of missing Madeleine, has accused the Sunday Times of behaving “disgracefully”, after winning a libel payout from the newspaper in a case he believes proves how little the industry has changed following the phone-hacking scandal.

McCann and his wife Kate were handed £55,000 in libel damages from the Murdoch-owned paper over a front page story which alleged that the couple had deliberately hindered the search for their daughter, who went missing in Portugal seven years ago.

The McCanns said in a statement: “The Sunday Times has behaved disgracefully. There is no sign of any post-Leveson improvement in the behaviour of newspapers like this.”

Writing in the Guardian, Gerry McCann repeats calls he made to the public inquiry into press intrusion, conducted by Lord Justice Leveson, for a “quick, effective way of correcting false reports in newspapers” and called on the next government to implement the proposals set out by Leveson but rejected by much of the industry.

After an 11-month battle for redress, the McCanns said the Sunday Times had failed to give them a proper opportunity to comment on what they called “grotesque and utterly false” allegations, failed to publish the full response they made and offered a “half-baked, inadequate response”. Even when the paper agreed to retract the allegations and apologise two months after publication, this was “tucked away” on an inside page. After this, the couple hired libel lawyers Carter-Ruck to sue for damages, they said.

The revelation of the libel damages comes as the Metropolitan police are investigating an 80-page dossier of abusive tweets, Facebook posts and messages on online forums aimed at the McCanns. A spokesman for the couple said newspaper articles helped feed into the abuse from trolls, who felt “vindicated” by them.

In the statement, the McCanns said: “Despite the history of admitted libels in respect of my family by so many newspapers, the Sunday Times still felt able to print an indefensible front page story last year and then force us to instruct lawyers – and even to start court proceedings – before it behaved reasonably. But the damage to reputation and to feelings has been done and the Sunday Times can sit back and enjoy its sales boost based on lies and abuse.

“This is exactly why parliament and Lord Justice Leveson called for truly effective independent self-regulation of newspapers – to protect ordinary members of the public from this sort of abuse. The fact is that most families could not take the financial and legal risk of going to the high court and facing down a big press bully as we have. That is why News UK and the big newspapers have opposed Leveson’s reforms and the arbitration scheme which is a necessary part of it.”

Carter-Ruck agreed to act on a no-win, no-fee basis, a system threatened by proposed changes to the law. The £55,000 is to be donated to two charities for missing people and sick children.

The Sunday Times said: “We have agreed a settlement with Mr and Mrs McCann.”

Much of the industry, with the exception of the Guardian, the Independent and the Financial Times, has set up its own regulatory body, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso), which started life three weeks ago.

In the statement, McCann calls Ipso the “latest industry poodle”. The McCanns have been involved in the Hacked Off campaign to tighten press regulation.

His latest experience underlined the need for change, said McCann. “The cost to the paper is peanuts – the fee for a single advertisement will probably cover it. And there will be no consequences for anyone working there. Nothing will be done to ensure that in future reporters and editors try harder to get things right. And so the same people will do something similar, soon, to some other unfortunate family, who will probably not have our hard-earned experience of dealing with these things and who will probably never succeed in getting a correction or an apology.

“So what has changed in the newspaper industry since the Leveson report two years ago? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

A dossier of online abuse directed at the family is being examined by police. Members of the public have handed Scotland Yard a file stretching to more than 80 pages of tweets, Facebook posts and forum messages, according to Sky News.

The material is said to include suggestions that the couple should be tortured or killed. One comment reportedly said: “These 2 should burn in hell.”

Scotland Yard said: “We can confirm we received a letter and documentation on 9 September which was passed to officers from Operation Grange [the Met’s involvement in the search for Madeleine]. They are assessing its contents and consulting with the CPS and the McCann family.”

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