Tyne & Wear

Ipso dismisses complaint over The Sun's Adam Johnson video

Adam Johnson Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Johnson was sacked by Sunderland following his conviction

The Sun acted in the public interest publishing a secret prison video of disgraced footballer Adam Johnson, the press regulator has ruled.

The winger's father, David, complained to Ipso about an online article headlined "I wish I'd raped her".

Johnson was filmed discussing his conviction for sexual activity with a minor and saying he would have "only got a caution had he not been famous".

Ipso ruled the piece did not breach the Editors' Code.

Published on 20 April 2017, the footage of the ex-Sunderland and England player was believed to have been recorded in the laundry room at HMP Moorland near Doncaster.

Johnson was seen talking to a fellow inmate about a six-year sentence imposed in March 2016 after he pleaded guilty to grooming and sexual activity with a child.

He was heard to say: "I wish I did [commit rape] for six years."

In his complaint to Ipso, David Johnson said publication of the footage was intrusive and the use of a hidden recording device unjustified.

'Paedophile not misleading'

He said his family were the subject of a witch-hunt by the press and claimed "numerous inflammatory newspaper articles" had been published about his son, many of which were "completely untrue".

David Johnson also described his concern at the use of the terms "paedophile" and "paedo".

In its defence, The Sun argued there was "an overriding public interest in exposing the true face of remorseless Johnson" as the comments had been made shortly before he lodged an appeal against his sentence.

Ipso said there was "a strong public interest in publishing the footage in order to highlight the conflict between the statements he made in private with those he had made in mitigation to the court".

It also said the level of subterfuge employed by the newspaper's source had been "limited" because Johnson had been speaking openly to inmates.

Using the word "paedophile" was also neither inaccurate nor misleading as the article clearly stated the age of the victim, the regulator added.

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