Mr Scott Ryan and Independent.ie
The Press Ombudsman has not upheld a complaint made by Mr Scott Ryan that Independent.ie breached Principle 1 (Truth and Accuracy) of the Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland.
On 26 March 2018 Independent.ie published under the heading “One of Ireland’s unluckiest road users made ‘in the region’ of 25 legal claims, court hears” a report about how Mr Scott Ryan in the High Court had withdrawn an appeal against a Circuit Court decision dismissing his claim that he had suffered injuries having been rear-ended by a taxi. The article included details of previous claims by Mr Ryan and that another newspaper had revealed Mr Ryan’s previous convictions and the fact that he was the first person in the State prosecuted for making a false complaint about gardaí.
Mr Ryan wrote to the editor of Independent.ie stating that the article included statements which were untrue. In particular he claimed that details about his previous claims were inaccurate and that he had let a reporter look at his previous claim history.
Mr Ryan wrote to the Office of the Press Ombudsman claiming that Independent.ie had breached Principle 1 of the Code of Practice. He supplied copies of seven motor insurance claims which had been compiled by a company that provides information on insurance claims.
Independent.ie in a submission to the Office of the Press Ombudsman stood over the article as published, stating that the article accurately reported that a lawyer for an insurance company told a sitting of the High Court that the complainant “made in the region of 25 legal claims”. Other allegations by Mr Ryan about previous claims being inaccurately reported had not been published by Independent.ie in its article. Independent.ie also claimed that it was disingenuous of Mr Ryan to refer to the fact that he had shown Independent.ie’s reporter his previous claims history as Mr Ryan had not given his consent to publishing any of the information contained in these records.
As the complaint could not be resolved by conciliation it was sent to the Press Ombudsman for a decision.
This complaint is not upheld. The heading on the article was an account of what was said in court. There was no breach of the requirement found in Principle 1 for the “press (to) strive at all times for truth and accuracy”. The fact that the complainant disputes the claim made in court is not relevant, the article only reported what was said in court, not that what was said was accurate. It is not necessary for the Press Ombudsman to determine if the claim made in court was accurate or not.
The other claims of inaccuracies made by Mr Ryan did not appear in the article as published on 26 March 2018 in Independent.ie and therefore are irrelevant.
22 May 2018