Evening News vindicated over publishing emails

The PCC has thrown out a complaint against the Cambridge Evening News for publishing excerpts of emails sent between a complainant — whose wife had been convicted of stabbing his mistress — and the paper's editor.

Complainant John Foster initially emailed editor Murray Morse to point out inaccuracies in the story about the case, headlined "Ultimate act of betrayal", and to discuss the sale of pictures and the story of his mistress, believing the correspondence was confidential.

When the emails were published, Foster complained the paper was in breach of Clause 1 (accuracy), Clause 3 (privacy) and Clause 14 (confidential sources).

Morse, who criticised the complainant in his paper for further betraying his wife, argued he had no obligation not to publish the emails, as he had not agreed to the complainant's request to keep them private.

The commission decided there was not sufficient evidence the editor had acknowledged the complainant should be treated as a confidential source, and therefore did not breach Clause 14.

It also considered the emails did not contain material relating to the complainant's private life, including the "digital communications".

It was rather background to a public trial, according to the commission, and there was no breach of Clause 3.

The breach of the accuracy clause seemed to rest on the critical stance the paper took against the complainant's comments.

The commission stated the paper was entitled to form a robust view, and had not quoted inaccurately from the emails.

The editor believed the emails amounted to a betrayal of the complainant's wife, and the commission saw no breach of Clause 1.

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