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"Criminality doesn't create privacy"

The PCC has rejected a complaint concerning a fifteen year old whose picture and video was published showing the youngster involved in criminal activity.

The PCC has rejected a complaint concerning a fifteen year old whose picture and video was published showing the youngster involved in criminal activity.

The father of the fifteen year old, complained that use of the YouTube footage on both the Northwich Guardian newspaper and website breached the PCC’s clause six of its code of practice, which prohibits identification of children under 16 under certain circumstances.

The original video clip posted on YouTube showed a freight train being firebombed by youths, including the complainants son, who was identifiable. The newspaper had taken screen grabs of the YouTube clip for its print edition, and had embedded the original video for viewing on its website.

In what is possibly one it’s easiest injunctions, the PCC ruled that the acts shown were not private, since they were criminal in nature, were carried out in a public place, by individuals who were over the age of criminal responsibility. The video had then been uploaded by the complainant’s own son to YouTube, making it publically viewable to anyone visiting the video-sharing website.

While clause six of the PCC’s Code of Practice places certain restrictions on situations involving children, none of them appeared to have been directly applicable in this case.

While it was not clear whether the complainant’s son whould have been identifiable from the published screen grabs, the PCC pointed out that law abiding individuals in a parallel situation would not have had any expectation of privacy, and that criminal behaviour should not guarantee greater privacy rights.

The full adjudication can be read here.

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