Scottish Sun Backed in Sheridan Complaint

The Scottish Sun newspaper has been backed by the Press Complaints Commission, following a complaint made against it by former MSP, Tommy Sheridan’s wife, Gail.

It follows publication of a photograph last year which Ms. Sheridan claims was in breach of her privacy – and Clause three of the PCC’s own code.

The photograph accompanied a story, headlined ‘Gail’s Pain’, published on October 11.

But her complaint was not upheld.

Said the PCC: “The complainant said the photograph showed her in her back garden, a place where she had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and was taken with a long lens. There was no public interest in its publication, particularly as she had appeared in public at a press conference the previous day. She provided a photograph of the garden where she had been pictured.”

The PCC continued: “The newspaper disagreed that the complainant had had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The photographer was on a public road – and did not leave his car – when he took the picture of the complainant at the side of her house, which was on the corner of two roads. The newspaper provided a series of photographs, detailing the complainant’s exact location in relation to the photographer and to the road.

“It said that the complainant was visible to the public at the time when she was photographed, both from the photographer’s vantage point and – more clearly – from the street to the side of the property where a passer-by would have only been metres away from her. Although the image was taken using a long lens, she would have been visible to someone on the street without such magnification. The newspaper argued that the complainant was not involved in any private activity as she was merely standing on her driveway with her keys in her hand. Had she been doing anything private, the newspaper would not have published the photograph.

“Finally, it argued that the complainant was a public figure with a high media profile, and had previously posed for photographs in her garden that were published in a magazine. However, it agreed to annotate its records to reflect the complainant’s concerns and, as a gesture of goodwill, gave an undertaking about future publication.”

The PCC justified its conclusion not to uphold the complaint,