Police pay substantial damages to man wrongly identified in press as a rapist

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The police have paid damages to a man wrongly identified as a rapist by both the Oxford Mail and the BBC website.

Both news organisations used a picture last October supplied to them by police which turned out to be of a local man unconnected with the court case of a man who had admitted rape and fire-arms charges.

The correction in the Oxford Mail said at the time: "Thames Valley Police supplied us with a picture today saying it was Daniel Rodriguez that was published in good faith with this story. In fact it was a different man called Daniel Rodriguez-Lay, 32, and we wish to state categorically the image published earlier today was not of the defendant and apologise sincerely to Mr Rodriguez-Lay. The picture attached to this story now is the correct man.”

Holdthefrontpage reports that the man has settled his claim against the police out of court for  “substantial damages and legal costs”.

At the time of the mistake Sarah Branthwaite from Foot Anstey solicitors told Press Gazette: ”The BBC and the Oxford Mail would be able to claim qualified privilege concerning publication of the photograph. They took measures to rectify the situation as soon as they were notified of the mistake.

"We had a case where the police had sent out the wrong photograph to a newspaper and we were able to defend it on the basis of qualified privilege."

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