Case Number: 2369

Council Meeting: MARCH 2014

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Otago Daily Times

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Two people were left with severe injuries following a collision between a tractor and a caravan at Hilderthorpe in January 2014. Complainant Ian Braddon-Parsons claims a report published in the Otago Daily Times on January 17 2014 was incorrect.

Mr Braddon-Parsons says the report places the blame for the accident on the campervan, saying it clipped the loader while overtaking and flipped. However, he says he saw the tractor, with front-end loader, turn into the path of the campervan.
He says any jurors who read the report may go into the court with a prejudiced view.

Newspaper’s response
Otago Daily Times editor Murray Kirkness says the report of the crash accurately quoted the police and if their account did not tally with Mr Braddon-Parsons, then that was a matter for the police to explain.
If any further details emerged from the investigation or any court action, then those would be reported too.

Reporters rely on police to tell them what happened in cases like this. There is no suggestion that the reporter misquoted the police officer, therefore this is an accurate report.
Other views may well be presented later in Court. Judges will routinely tell jurors to disregard anything they may have already heard about the case.
The Press Council does not uphold this complaint.

Press Council members considering the complaint were Sir John Hansen, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Pip Bruce Ferguson, Chris Darlow, Jenny Farrell, Sandy Gill, Penny Harding, John Roughan, Mark Stevens and Stephen Stewart.