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Wrongful identification as child victim of indecent assault surgeon was misuse of (false) private information

01 March 2009

Footage filmed by the BBC of a man walking towards Wolverhampton Crown Court, where he was a Bailiff, was broadcast in two Midlands Today News reports about the trial of a surgeon accused of indecently assaulting five boys. The Bailiff’s face was obscured and this suggested to viewers that he was one of the victims and was a witness giving evidence in court that day. However, he was identifiable because his wife was filmed walking alongside him with her face clearly visible. In fact, the Bailiff was not involved with the surgeon's case, and a claim for misuse of private information (albeit false information) was brought against the BBC. The case was successfully settled, with a letter of apology to the Bailiff and payment of damages and his legal costs.