Mail cleared over Pete Doherty rehab clinic privacy claim

The Daily Mail has been cleared of breaking the PCC code after a reporter entered a "private" area of celebrity rehab clinic The Priory without permission.

Priory Group corporate communications manager Karen Croft complained under clause eight of the Editors' Code (hospitals).

A Mail reporter visited the Roehampton clinic to find out whether singer Peter Doherty was complying with a court order to visit the clinic.

Croft said the Mail journalist had “wilfully breached the code by entering the private grounds of the hospital without asking permission and not immediately making her presence known to hospital management.”

When the journalist identified herself at reception, she was escorted from the premises.

According to the Mail, there was no security presence at the gate of the hospital, the barrier was up and the journalist was not challenged as she made her way to reception.

At reception, she identified herself as a journalist (in accordance with the terms of the Code) and asked to speak to someone about the Doherty case.

The Mail said that the reporter did not speak to any patient, indulge in any covert behaviour or file a story about her time at the hospital and left when asked to do so.

Rejecting the complaint, the PCC said: “While it would clearly have been preferable for the journalist to have been able to identify herself at the gate of the hospital, that was not an option – and the Commission did not consider that, in those circumstances, visiting the reception area of the hospital constituted a breach of the Code.”

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