BBC rapped for accident report

Ofcom has upheld in part a complaint of unfair treatment by BBC South East Today in its coverage of a fatal car accident on 11 August 2004.

BBC South East covered the death of Jessica Leigh, who died after being struck by a car driven by Jason Berry.

Ofcom found the news programme mislead viewers by stating that “it was proved in court that [Berry] was travelling at around 50 mph”, which may have led viewers to reach an unfair conclusion about the extent of Berry’s recklessness. The programme did not give the context behind the reasons why Berry did not receive a custodial sentence and was likely to have left viewers with the impression that Berry had somehow “got off”.

Ofcom considered that, by not including that Leigh had stepped into the path of the vehicle when a pedestrian crossing light was red, the report had misrepresented the circumstances.

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