- Alfie Baron
The case details are: 02714-16 Cameron v Scottish Daily Mail
The complaint was NOT UPHELD after a thorough investigation.
A key part of Lisa Cameron's complaint was: "She said that her husband never 'ran any business which traded in her name and went bust'; his bankruptcy had no links whatsoever to her business dealings".
More of this later, but the committee stated: "The Committee had sight of the complainant's husband's listing on the Accountant in Bankruptcy's Insolvency Service website, and noted that it listed the "trading name" of the business associated with him as "Lisa Cameron & Associates". Oooops.
The complaint was on behalf of herself and her husband Mark Horsham.
Lisa Cameron's complaint alleged that the Scottish Daily Mail had breached the Editors' Code of Practice - specifically the following clauses:
Clause 1 (Accuracy)
Clause 2 (Privacy)
Clause 3 (Harassment)
Clause 6 (Children)
Clause 10 (Clandestine devices and subterfuge)
It was published online with the headline "Hypocrisy of SNP MP with £630,000 property empire: Nationalist snaps up former council homes and makes fortune in rental income - despite opposing the sale of social housing".
Below are some of the key points of the complaint with the committee's findings. The BOLD sections below are ours and not the committee's or Lisa Cameron's.
Lisa Cameron complained: "She said that the five former council houses were not in 'impoverished areas'; the East Kilbride homes were not in areas which would officially be considered deprived".
Committee Findings: It [the newspaper] noted that the rents were at such levels that they would indicate that the areas were not prosperous. The Committee found that there was no failure to take care over the accuracy of this aspect of the article, and it did not identify any significant inaccuracies which would require correction under Clause 1 (ii) of the Code.
Lisa Cameron said: "that her husband never 'ran any business which traded in her name and went bust'; his bankruptcy had no links whatsoever to her business dealings".
Committee Findings: The Committee had sight of the complainant's husband's listing on the Accountant in Bankruptcy's Insolvency Service website, and noted that it listed the 'trading name' of the business associated with him as 'Lisa Cameron & Associates'. In light of this, the Committee concluded that it was not inaccurate to report that the complainant's husband had run a business that 'traded in her name and went bust'.
Lisa Cameron said: "that being approached in her garden represented a clear intrusion into her and her children's private life. She said that the journalist had asked in the presence of one of her children whether her husband had a gambling problem".
Committee Findings: While conversing about the complainant's husband's bankruptcy, the journalist had asked "did it have anything to do with gambling or playing poker?" After the complainant responded "no", the journalist did not ask any further questions in this regard. Asking this question in the presence of a child did not intrude into the complainant's husband's private life, or into the child's private life. There was no breach of Clause 2.
Lisa Cameron said: "that the repeated and aggressive questioning in front of her children amounted to harassment and intimidation". She She also said that she was concerned that her children had been intimidated by the journalist.
Committee Findings: There was no objection from the complainant about the interview being conducted with her child present, and the conversation that took place was with the complainant, not the child. The interactions between the journalist and the child, which could be heard on the recording, did not constitute the journalist "interviewing" the child; he did not attempt to obtain information from the child for inclusion in the article, and when he interacted with the child on a few brief occasions, this was done in a jokey and friendly manner, which did not appear to distress the child. The quotation in the article about how the complainant's husband "tidies up" her properties came from the complainant herself. There was no breach of Clause 6.
You can read the full complaint and the committee's findings here