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Wednesday, April 28, 1999 Published at 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK


PCC rejects Lawrence Five complaint

Complaints by the suspect's parents were rejected

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected complaints against two newspapers brought by the parents of the five men widely accused of murdering black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen Lawrence case: Timeline of events
They objected to one article which published the men's addresses, and another in which a columnist suggested the men's facial features might need "enhancing".

The parents of the five men complained, in one case through their MP, Eric Forth, about articles in the New Nation and the Sunday Telegraph.

Nick Higham: "The wide reporting of the case meant there had been no invasion of privacy or harrassment"
In the New Nation piece, headlined "Do you know where they live?", a columnist suggested ways of enhancing their media image "or indeed their facial features".

The Sunday Telegraph published the men's addresses in an article which also discussed how the men spent their time and asked how they funded their lifestyle.

The families said the articles amounted to harrassment and an invasion of their privacy. They also said they had received death threats after the Sunday Telegraph piece.

In the past the Commission has condemned publication of an individual's address - after a piece about burning holiday homes in Wales.

But this time it said the addresses had been read out at the inquest into Stephen Lawrence's death and at the Macpherson inquiry and were already in the public domain.

That and the wide reporting of the case meant there had been no invasion of privacy or harrassment, it ruled.

Celebrity photographs break rules

In a seperate ruling, the PCC upheld complaints by Sir Elton John against two newspapers which published photographs of guests at his home in the south of France.

The Commission's code of practice outlaws pictures taken without consent and using long-range cameras on people on private property.

The pictures were published in the Daily Star and the Sport last summer, and Sir Elton's solicitors said they had been taken secretly, perhaps from the top of a ladder placed against a wall.

Both papers said they had apologised to the singer.

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