IPSO: Daily Mail breached Prince Andrew's privacy by flying helicopter over his home

The Daily Mail has been ordered to take remedial action by the Independent Press Standards Organisation after breaching Prince Andrew’s privacy.

IPSO received a complaint from the Duke of York after the newspaper sent a helicopter over the grounds of his home on 19 June 2015 to take pictures of daughter Princess Eugenie’s 25th birthday preparations.

The Mail argued the public had an interest in plans for a “lavish party” to celebrate the birthday of the eighth in line to the throne, but have been ordered to publish IPSO’s adjudication in print and online after breaching Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice.

Unsuccessful complaints were also made regarding four articles published between 20 and 26 June 2015, which showed details of the party layout, including tents and fairground rides.

The Mail claimed it received these details from a confidential source and provided a draft of the article written before the helicopter flight.

IPSO found these details were trivial and did not constitute a further breach of Clause 3, but said the fact the newspaper received details of the party plans through means which were not intrusive further showed the helicopter flight to be a breach of privacy.

While the Mail claimed the flight was not a breach of privacy because the family were out of the house, making a public appearance at Royal Ascot, IPSO ruled that as the grounds of Prince Andrew’s home, Royal Lodge, are neither accessible nor visible to the public, he could still expect a reasonable amount of privacy when not present.

Part of Clause 3 states: “Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.

“Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. Account will be taken of the complainant’s own public disclosures of information.”

IPSO said the adjudication should appear in the first ten pages of the Daily Mail and appear for twelve hours on the home page of the Mail Online.

It appeared on page 10 of the paper today and said: “In this instance, the helicopter’s flight over the private space of the grounds of the complainant’s home, designed to capture images of the preparations for the party, was clearly intrusive, regardless of the fact that the complainant was not at home at the time.

“The effect of such an intrusion was to deprive him of the security of a private space, in which he could engage in activities, away from the public gaze.”

The Mail said aerial photographs are used to cover many events such as “storms, road accidents, plane crashes, festivals, sporting events and public gatherings” without controversy.

But IPSO’s adjudication said: “The committee recognised that aerial photography can be a legitimate tool; however, it carries a specific risk of intrusion because it allows a photographer to disregard physical barriers which would seem to offer protection from intrusion and scrutiny.”

The photographs taken from the helicopter were not published by the Mail.

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