The Evening Times newspaper has apologised for a story it ran which was later referred to in First Minister’s Questions at the Scottish Parliament.
The story featured an alleged victim of a rape who is quoted saying the subsequent trial felt like “being raped all over again”. Accompanied by a sensitive feature inside the paper about a rape crisis service, the story was debated at last week’s First Minister’s Questions, with Alex Salmond agreeing to look into the case, responding to a call from Scottish Labour’s Johann Lamont.
The alleged victim of the rape is said to have attempted suicide three times, the supposed trial including her having to hold up her underwear.
But the veracity of the story was thrown into doubt when the Crown Office issued a note to newspaper editors saying they had no knowledge of a case taking place that included the details being referred to.
Says the paper today, on page 2: “On Wednesday, October 5, the Evening Times published a report outlining the account of a woman’s ordeal in court in which she claimed she had been raped.
“This story was subsequently highlighted in Holyrood at First Minister’s Questions.
“Regrettably, the story was not subjected to the normal scrutiny or checks it should have received before publication in the Evening Times and we are unable to confirm details of the case.
“The Crown Office has informed us that it has been unable to identify any rape trial for an attack in Glasgow which resulted in acquittal this year and which matches the details as reported.
“The reporting of such cases is highly sensitive and we deeply regret any hurt or offence our reporting may have caused.”
The details of how the story transpired in the first place have yet to be revealed.