PCC rejects Roy Meadows complaint

Columnist's comment on Professor's evidence not inaccurate, rules Commission

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint from Professor Sir Roy Meadow about an article in The Times, which stated that he “went beyond his remit, and gave evidence that led to the jailing of innocent people.”

Complaining under Clause 1 of the PCC Code (Accuracy), Sir Roy argued that the newspaper could not justify its remarks, relying on the Appeal Court rulings in the cases of Angela Cannings and Sally Clark. The newspaper contended that the claims were fair comment, the point being that in submitting statistics-based evidence when he was not a statistician, Sir Roy had gone beyond his remit. The newspaper also cited the Appeal Court rulings to back up its position. It said Sir Roy had rejected its offer to publish a letter from him.

Rejecting the complaint, the Commission found that there were sufficient grounds for the columnist to have interpreted the complainant’s involvement in the Cannings and Clark cases in the way she had and that as such there was no significant inaccuracy. It took into account that her views were set out as her opinion in a clearly identifiable comment piece. The Commission welcomed the newspaper’s offer to publish a letter from Sir Roy, which it considered “a constructive approach to settling the dispute.”