Newsquest paper pays out over misleading court report

A Royal Navy Petty Officer has accepted undisclosed libel damages over an article which gave the impression that he was guilty of serious sexual assault and indecent exposure.

Richard Bean, who is based at RNAS Culdrose, sued over an item in the Helston Packet in September 2006 concerning Bean’s trial at Truro Crown Court that month, his solicitor-advocate, Isabel Hudson, told Mr Justice Eady at the High Court.

Newsquest Media Group Ltd had accepted that its coverage of the trial was misleading, not least because it failed to give the readers a proper overview of the case, or of all of the evidence which was before the court.

In fact, Mr Bean was acquitted of all the charges which had been brought against him and there was no question of him having been guilty of these offences, she said.

“In addition, the defendant accepts that contrary to the impression given in its article, it is not and has never been, commonplace for male officers at RNAS Culdrose to expose themselves.”

The newspaper had agreed to pay Bean libel damages and his legal costs.

Its representative, Priya Lakhani, said that it apologised for any distress and embarrassment suffered.

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