CHARLOTTE MEYER AGAINST STUFF
Case Number: 3462
Council Meeting: December 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Headlines and Captions
Ruling Categories: Court Reporting
Stuff published an article on 1 September 2023, headlined A Christmas party, a cocktail of drugs and the death of a woman.
The story was a report of the Coroner’s finding on the death of Wellington woman Hoia (Bella) Mulligan.
Charlotte Meyer asked why the story had to be published two years after her death.
“Bella was not a celebrity or politician, Bella was a mother, a wife, a sister and a friend of many and this is the second time you have published incredibly private and personal information regarding her death.”
Stuff said in its response that it understood how this must be challenging for family and friends, but there was a public interest in the
reporting of Ms Mulligan’s death. The reporting was wholly responsible, entirely based on the publicly released Coroner's Inquest and there
were no name suppressions on the file.
The Media Council understands the distress this report may have caused for people who knew Ms Mulligan. However, this story appears to be a straightforward report of the Coroner’s Court finding. Reporting of the courts is of significant public interest and no case has been made to show there has been any breach of Media Council principles.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.