Times apology letter enough to remedy IPSO complaint over claims its journalist intruded into man's grief

The Times sent a private letter of apology to a man after he complained one of its journalists had intruded into his grief and privacy when she approached him for comment following the death of his friend.

Simon Frew complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that the journalist “did not approach him with sympathy or discretion” and that her conduct had been “intrusive”.

He also said the journalist had made false representations to the porter in order to gain entry to his apartment building.

Frew said the journalist’s actions breached clauses 2 (privacy), 3 (harassment), 4 (intrusion into grief or shock) and 10 (clandestine devices and subterfuge) of the Editor’s Code of Practice.

The Times said it did not accept any breach of the code and denied claims that its journalist had acted intrusively.

It said: “The manner of the journalist’s approach and the questions asked did not show any lack of discretion or sympathy, and when the complainant had asked the journalist to leave, they had done so.”

The paper also claimed the building’s porter had not asked the journalist to identify herself and that she had told Frew she was a journalist as soon as she encountered him.

It told IPSO that no private information was obtained or published as a result of the conversation with Frew and that there had been no attempt to take photographs.

Frew said the letter of apology, sent after the IPSO complaint was made in February, resolved the matter. As such, IPSO did not rule on whether there had been a breach of the code.

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