Sunday Mail rapped overgangland story

A complaint against the Sunday Mail has been partly upheld by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).

Victor
Shields of Glasgow complained to the PCC that an article in the Sunday
Mail on 14 November 2004 headlined “Cannon Fired” contained
inaccuracies in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code of Practice.

The article reported the suspension of a lawyer, who was alleged to have worked for Scotland’s “top gangland figures”.

The
complainant was said to be one of the lawyer’s clients and was referred
to as a “career criminal” who had “amassed a fortune by pimping women
and men” and making pornography. He denied any connections with the
lawyer and disputed the broader allegations.

The Sunday Mail
provided an anonymous statement from a former police officer who said
he believed the lawyer’s firm had acted for the complainant in the
1980s by drafting lease agreements for saunas.

The PCC said it
was incumbent on the newspaper to produce evidence to back up its
allegations. “There was no other corroborative material and no offer to
correct the matter. There was a breach of Clause 1 and the complaint
was upheld on this point,” it ruled.

The PCC said it was unable
to make a ruling on the denial by the complainant that he was involved
in criminal activities. It criticised the Sunday Mail for the delay in
dealing with the complaint.

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