Mistaken indemnity

The South Wales Evening Post today (Friday 23 April) carries a story about a sex assault on two young girls — aged three and five, in Penllergaer, Swansea.

An article headed “Pervert is guilty of sex attack on girls” (see pic below) details how former steelworker Robert Stevens admitted to the attack. The article is accompanied by a picture of Robert Stevens. Except, horrifically, it is not the same Robert Stevens as the one who appeared in court.

robert stevens mistaken identity

Two separate pages on the South Wales Evening Post website featured two different pictures of Robert William Stevens , an entirely innocent local man, rather than Robert Edward Stevens, the man who had pleaded guilty to the charges. It seems the pictures were taken directly from Facebook.

The print edition carried a picture of Robert William Stevens on the front page, with a picture of a different person on the story on page seven of the paper.

Stevens is thought to be seeking legal advice, and the newspaper has apparently committed to a front-page apology.

One of the criticisms of the Libel Reform Campaign is that it seeks to allow the media a carte blanche to say anything about anyone. This has never been the aim. In this case, not only has the South Wales Evening Post published seriously defamatory misinformation about Stevens, it has potentially endangered him. He is entitled to compensation.