NoW freelance to sue over arrest in 'art or filth' probe

 

A freelance photographer, arrested after taking part in a nationwide News of the World investigation into whether pictures of naked children in a Saatchi Gallery exhibition were indecent, is to sue the police.

Last March, John Alevroyiannis, a former picture editor of the Sunday Sun, Newcastle, claims he was kept in the cells for eight and half hours and had his house searched in his absence.

He was working for the NoW on a exercise in which eight photographers were asked to take film of the pictures of the children to be developed to see if there was any reaction from the processors.

The NoW felt the pictures were not art but indecent.

When Alevroyiannis returned to collect the pictures from a Newcastle shop he was confronted by two police officers, he told Press Gazette. They ignored his press card and explanation, and arrested him on suspicion of being in possession of indecent photographs.

At the police station, according to Alevroyiannis, he was put into a cell and his repeated requests for the police to get in touch with the NoW were not complied with.

He was asked for his keys and police went to search his house in his absence. His wife, Carol, only knew her house was being searched when neighbours rang her at work. It was she who finally rang the NoW.

Alevroyiannis claims he was given nothing to eat and kept waiting for an hour to use the lavatory.

Bailed after an NoW lawyer contacted the station, Alevroyiannis did not hear until June that no further action was to be taken against him.

He was astonished to read in the same letter: "Should further significant evidence or information become available, the question of institution of criminal proceedings against you may be reconsidered."

He has consulted a solicitor and told Press Gazette he is going to sue.

"I have been working in the area for 20 years," he said. "I rang the police two or three days after my arrest to complain about the disgusting way

I had been treated and said I would like an apology. I still haven’t had an apology.

"It was ridiculous that it took all that time. One phone call would have sorted it out."

A spokesperson for the NoW said: "Our photographer was held for questioning by Northumbria Police and subsequently released when our legal team intervened and explained the clear objective of this entirely legitimate journalistic exercise."

Northumbria Police said it had advised Alevroyiannis shortly after his arrest that if he wanted to complain about his treatment, he should do so in writing and it would be investigated.

"We have received no such complaint," said a press spokeswoman.

By Jean Morgan

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