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Diocese of Dunedin and 12 Others and TV3 Network Services Ltd - 1999-125–1999-137

Members

  • S R Maling (Chair)
  • L M Loates
  • R McLeod
  • J Withers

Complainants

  • The Diocese of Dunedin of Dunedin
  • The Very Rev Jonathan Kirkpatrick (2) of Dunedin
  • Canon Carl Somers-Edgar of Dunedin
  • Robert Rothel (2) of Dunedin
  • R J M Sim (2) of Dunedin
  • Nicholas Greet of Dunedin
  • G D Fraser of Dunedin
  • R J Stevenson of Dunedin
  • W J Cowan of Dunedin
  • Tim Barnett MP of Christchurch

Dated

9th September 1999

Number

1999-125–137

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

TV3 Network Services Ltd


Summary

The members of the Authority have viewed the item complained about and, at TV3’s request, have viewed field footage relating to the production of the item. They have also read all of the correspondence listed in the Appendix, which includes four affidavits from Diocesan officials, including the Bishop, an article from the October 1998 North and South magazine, an affidavit from TV3’s reporter, submissions from the Diocese, the Dean, Robert Rothel and Diccon Sim in response, a final submission from TV3 and the complainants’ final responses.

The Authority was asked to convene a formal hearing to determine the complaints. It considered the requests to do so, but in light of the very full submissions received, some of which included affidavits, and the opportunities which each of the parties has had to comment on the views of others, it concluded that it would not be further assisted by hearing any of the parties in person. It therefore resolved not to hold a formal hearing.

A 20/20 item entitled "Sex, Lies and Videotape" was broadcast on 28 June 1998 beginning at 7.30pm.

The item concerned matters surrounding the dismissal of Dr Raymond White, the Director of Music at St Paul’s Cathedral, Dunedin and the subsequent walk-out by all but one of the members of the all-male Cathedral choir. The reasons for the dismissal were said to relate to the inappropriate conduct of the Director of Music in relation to young men in the choir. However, the report claimed, compromising behaviour of a similar nature could equally have been attributed to other members of the Cathedral hierarchy.

The item began with the observation that Dr White’s problems had begun when Dr Penny Jamieson, the first woman to run a diocese, was ordained Bishop of Dunedin in 1990. According to the reporter, she had had to confront the potential for scandal in the Cathedral’s traditional all-male choir.

An example of the behaviour which the report contended demonstrated the dichotomies within the Cathedral community was seen in footage from a private videotape filmed at the former Organ Scholar’s 21st birthday party some 4 years previously. It showed the obviously drunk Cathedral Canon making outrageous remarks about his and others’ sexual inclinations. Overlaying the footage of Canon Somers-Edgar’s drunken party behaviour, it was reported that it was this "irreverent Reverend" who had accused Dr White of improper behaviour, and triggered the allegations of sexual harassment. The item then reported an alleged remark made by the Dean to an adult member of the choir to the effect that some Samoan boys seen smoking outside his window were "gorgeous". It also recounted the head server’s alleged sexual advances to other choir members. The head server was described in the programme as a "sexual predator" yet, it reported, he had taken a prominent role in the Church since the Dean had been appointed, and was "frontrunner" to replace the Director of Music.

With respect to the employment issue, Dr White contended that his dismissal was the unilateral action of the Dean, who was "judge, jury and executioner". He questioned how the Cathedral’s governing body could have approved the Dean’s decision to dismiss him when the Dean himself had been reported as having made an inappropriate comment about Samoan boys in front of young members of the choir. In Dr White’s view, there was an irony in the fact that it appeared he was dismissed for reporting the Dean’s behaviour to the Chapter when, as the reporter put it, "he was only protecting his boys from the sort of behaviour he himself had been accused of."

Decision

The Complaints

A total of 15 complaints was received and determined by the Authority. Five of those were allegations about breaches of privacy, and the remainder dealt with a number of breaches of broadcasting standards relating to both the 20/20 item and to the news item broadcast the following day. The complaints about the news item are dealt with in a separate decision.

One complaint about the 20/20 item was not accepted by TV3 because it was not received in full until the 21st working day after the broadcast. A broadcaster is not obliged to accept a complaint received after 20 working days have elapsed, and although it had been notified by fax on the 20th day that a complaint would be submitted, it elected not to accept it. As this is a matter for the broadcaster, the Authority makes no comment on TV3’s decision not to accept the complaint.

The Authority deals first with the standards breaches. In light of the large amount of material received and considered, it has reproduced in full the transcript of the programme, interspersing it with the complaints from various complainants. At the conclusion of the transcript, overall complaints are considered in detail. The Privacy complaints follow.

SEX, LIES & VIDEOTAPE

20/20 28 June 1998

PRODUCER  MICHAEL TURNER
REPORTER  MATT CONWAY

The Diocese’s complaint began with the programme’s title. It complained that the fact that its head was a woman Bishop, and that its Dean was homosexual were facts exploited by TV3 in the programme to create a false, discriminatory and dishonest portrayal of the Diocese. It contended that the title of the programme demonstrated this. "Sex" plainly referred to the Dean, to a lesser extent the Bishop, and to allegations of sexual misconduct, it wrote. The concept of "sexual predators" was created, and depicted in the images used of young choristers in an imputation of paedophilia. Then, the Diocese continued, the programme suggested that Dr White was sacked for trying to protect his choir members from such sexual exploitation while being innocent himself.

The title then led on to "lies". This, the Diocese contended, was presented as an allegation of lying on the part of individuals and officials of the Diocese in relation to the dismissal procedure against Dr White, and by the Dean in relation to his own conduct.

Next was the matter of the videotape. The Diocese complained first that the excerpts should never have been broadcast without consent, having been filmed at a private function. Secondly, it complained that the tape had been selectively edited and broadcast in a way which made it falsely appear directly relevant to the primary issue, the sacking of Dr White.

INTRODUCTION – KAREN PICKERSGILL:
They sang to the glory of God  but the heavenly voices of Dunedin's St Paul's Cathedral Choir are now involved in a hellish dispute. This saga of blackmail and deceit began with the sacking of the man who for twenty years was musical director of the all-male choir. As Matt Conway reports, it’s a story of hypocrisy and hidden agendas, of sex and scandal, and one which raises the question, what is acceptable behaviour of the men of God.

Mr Greet complained that it was incorrect to state that the choir was involved in any dispute. He noted that the dispute was between Dr White, the Dean and the Chapter. He also added that no evidence was given to prove the assertion that there had been a saga of blackmail and deceit.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
They used to sing inside St Paul's Cathedral. Now they're on the outer.

Mr Greet commented that the choir was not on the outer, and that the Dean had made several public comments which clearly showed that they were welcome back at any time.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
It seemed pretty obvious they were out to destroy me and the choir.

DEAN JONATHAN KIRKPATRICK:
I think to have ignored what was going on in the Cathedral would have been far more damaging than dealing with it.

CHOIR SINGING BY CANDLELIGHT

MATT CONWAY, voiceover
:
After nearly twenty years as choirmaster Raymond White was banished two months ago from the Cathedral, his disciples following him, something he describes as "a wonderful show of care and affection". New Zealand's last all-male cathedral choir sang in famous shrines around the world, like here at London's St Paul's Cathedral, as well as enchanting audiences here at home. On the fringe of the respected choral group, this man …. The Reverend Carl Somers-Edgar … Cathedral Canon.

The complainants, in particular the Bishop and other Diocesan officials, emphasised that a proper process had been followed which led to the warnings to Dr White and ultimately, to his dismissal. The programme had failed to acknowledge this process, they argued. They reiterated that there was a clear implication that Dr White had been dismissed on spurious grounds.

Canon Somers-Edgar observed in his complaint that it was relevant that Dr White was not dismissed for improper conduct with choristers, but for conduct which included defaming the Dean and deliberately disrupting worship.

The Dean also complained that it was untrue to state that the St Paul’s Cathedral choir was New Zealand’s last all male Cathedral choir, pointing out that he had told the reporter so.

CANON SOMERS-EDGAR:
Get out pervert. Go away, go away. Nasty nasty persons. You're a pervert. Go away. Go away.

Mr Barnett complained that given the context of the programme, the selection of this extract from the videotape reinforced the portrayal of homosexuals as perverted.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
He often socialised with the choir, who saw a different side of him to his parishioners.

The Diocese complained about the use of the videotape footage containing remarks which had been recorded some four years previously at a 21st birthday party. It objected to the fact that the videotape had been selectively edited so that it appeared the remarks had a particular meaning, and that it was broadcast in a way which made it appear that it was directly relevant to the sacking of Dr White.

Mr Stevenson, who said he was present at the party when the video was filmed, pointed out that it was obvious at the time that Canon Somers-Edgar was extremely intoxicated, and said that the Canon had been hounded, provoked and goaded by the hosts of the party to make the comments. He noted that none of those present at the family party had been offended by the remarks, and observed that the purpose of the goading had been to induce Canon Somers-Edgar to criticise the Bishop. He advised the Authority that it was well known that some members of the family which had hosted the party had attempted to blackmail Canon Somers-Edgar with the contents of the videotape. He maintained that the inclusion of the videotape footage had served no public interest as it concerned a person attending a private function as a private individual who thought he was among friends. Those people had since betrayed him, he concluded.

Similar responses were received from other complainants. One pointed out that the video was 4 years old. He asked what integrity was shown by the producers in using a privately-made video without seeking permission from the participants first.

Another complainant contended that the use of the video was a clear breach of standard G7 because portions had been taken out of context, and a breach of standard G4 because Canon Somers-Edgar had not been invited to comment.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
Clergy who you think should be trustworthy, or who you've been trained to look up to …I'm afraid it's not always the case. There can be evil intentions lurking.

The Diocese complained that the juxtaposition of this comment with Canon Somers-Edgar’s remarks above gave the clear impression that in talking about evil intentions lurking, Dr White was referring to paedophilia. In fact, it noted, as the field tapes revealed, he was talking about the intentions to dismiss him.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
What evil intentions could possibly be lurking inside this house of God? And who was plotting against the choir whose music has resounded here for a hundred and forty years? And, more importantly, why?

The Diocese contended that there was no evidence to justify a suggestion that the issue was broader than an employment dispute with Dr White and no justification for the suggestion that there was a plot. It observed that the truth was that the choir had chosen to leave because its loyalty to Dr White was greater than its loyalty to the institution of the church. It noted that the Cathedral was apparently given no opportunity to respond to this inference in the programme. The implication that the all male choir had been singing in the Cathedral for 140 years was incorrect, the Diocese continued, and the reporter ignored the fact that he had been told that 30 or 40 years ago women had been part of the choir.

TO CAMERA:
When the choir followed Raymond White out of St Paul's, they didn't do it just out of loyalty. Also outrage. Outrage at what they considered to be the church's double standards, and senior clergy not practising what they preach.

VOICEOVER:
Dr White says his problems started with the ordination of Penny Jamieson as Bishop of Dunedin in 1990.

The Diocese complained that it was incorrect to suggest that Dr White’s problems began with the ordination of Bishop Penny Jamieson. It noted that the reporter had a copy of Dr White’s dismissal letter which made it clear that there had been a history of conflict between him and Cathedral authorities prior to her appointment. Further, the Diocese continued, the comment was not explained or justified. It clearly implied bad faith on the part of the Bishop in relation to Dr White’s employment, and more specifically the disciplinary processes, it wrote.

She's ascended higher than any woman ever had in the hierarchical Anglican church; the first woman to run a diocese, answering only, so they say, to God. An issue she has to confront; the potential for scandal with a traditional all-male choir. It's a choir surviving on passion and trust, revolving around one man. This is Raymond White's life, and this is his family. Some have belonged for half a century, seen generations of boy sopranos come and go. Father and sons, heterosexuals and homosexuals. Choir boys are seen by some predatory homosexuals as plums for the picking. Both the Bishop and Dr White know the dangers. The big question is: who in the church is doing the preying. Dr White spent so much time protecting his family, he forgot about protecting himself. The whispering campaign has begun with sex as the weapon and the vulnerable choirmaster Dr White as the target. And the person who triggered these allegations of sexual harassment?

The Diocese complained that the reference to the choirmaster as "vulnerable" and as a "target" and the use of "sex as a weapon" clearly indicated that TV3 accepted that Dr White had been treated with bad faith. The reference to a "whispering campaign" also suggested that information had been released by the church which was calculated to harm Dr White.

The Diocese maintained that the reverse was true, and that the church had acted with every care to prevent the release of information which could do such harm.

The Dean complained about the suggestion that predatory homosexuals saw choirboys as plums for the picking – he maintained it was unwarranted to identify homosexuality with paedophilia, and that it served to endorse prejudice against homosexual people.

He also maintained that with the programme’s theme that Dr White was protecting the choir from predatory homosexuals, a direct attack had been made on Canon Somers-Edgar and himself. He suggested that when linked to his comment, reported later, about Samoan boys, the predatory reference could be seen to be referring to him.

Next, the Dean complained that it was inaccurate and untrue to state that Canon Somers-Edgar had triggered the accusations, pointing out that he had simply reported to the Bishop on matters about which he had been informed.

Mr Greet complained about the suggestion that there had been a potential for a sexual scandal between the Bishop and the choir. He noted that there was no evidence given to back this up.

The use of the term "boy", it was contended by several complainants, implied that the choir members were under the age of legal consent and, combined with the term "predatory homosexuals", associated gay sexuality with paedophilia.

PARTY GOER:
Oh what a creep.

CANON SOMERS-EDGAR:
I am…I am. But I'm a lovely person, and I'm good in bed …. So all those six-year-old children say.

The Diocese argued that a proper consideration of the full tape would make it plain to TV3 that the comments could not be construed seriously as containing the suggestion that Canon Somers-Edgar engaged in or endorsed paedophilia, or that his comments were intended to be taken seriously. It noted:

Even the extracts shown reveal the encouragement and appreciation of those listening to his performance. The use of the private video, four years old, edited and out of context, is unfair, unbalanced and inappropriate.

The Dean and other complainants also complained about what they called a clear inference in the programme that Canon Somers-Edgar was a paedophile. They argued that Canon Somers-Edgar was entitled to an opportunity to comment. However, they noted, he had not been contacted by TV3.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
It's Carl Somers-Edgar, the irreverent Reverend who earlier embarrassed himself when a camera was shoved in his face. This is the man accusing Dr White of improper behaviour. (Interview:) Dr White, have you ever sexually harassed any of the boys in your choir?

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
No.

It was noted by Canon Somers-Edgar and other complainants that the reference to choir boys in relation to Dr White’s dismissal was incorrect. The complaints relating to Dr White’s behaviour concerned choir members who were young men, they wrote.

MATT CONWAY:
Have you ever behaved improperly in any way?

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
No, I haven't.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Even the alleged victims thrown up by Somers-Edgar say that over the years they've known Dr White, he's never done anything to make them feel uncomfortable.

JOSEPH (former choir member):
No, apart from making me sing in front of everyone …(laugh) I wasn't too comfortable with everyone…(laugh) I wasn't too comfortable with that. But no, nothing else.

The Diocese argued that the programme implied that the allegations were created by Canon Somers-Edgar and that they were without foundation. It responded that this was untruthful, and that a proper inquiry would have confirmed that. The Diocese pointed to the evidence of the matters of concern in an accompanying affidavit and referred to the acknowledgment by Dominique Peyroux in a October 1998 North and South article, where it was reported he had made it clear that something inappropriate had happened.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Despite the denials, Dr White still got a written warning. The church tried to jack him up with a job in Australia, hoping he would go quietly. He didn't.

The Dean stated that it was totally untrue to state that the church had tried to jack Dr White up with a job in Australia.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
I knew instinctively that the people responsible in the background had to …tried to ruin the choir and ruin me by any means they could. I was just devastated, of course because what other reaction could one have.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
The gay Dean of St Paul's, the Very Reverend Jonathan Kirkpatrick, walked right into the sex scandal when he came to Dunedin nearly two years ago. He denies that getting rid of Raymond White was on his agenda. He's open about his homosexuality and says it makes no difference to God's work.

The Dean argued that the sex theme of the programme exploited homophobic values to suggest that his declared personal sexual orientation was relevant to a consideration of allegations of misconduct with males.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I have very, very high standards of personal integrity and professional behaviour for myself, and I insist on those for my staff, and I don't think that the particular orientation of one's sexuality is at all relevant in that.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
A pity he wasn't at St Paul's a few years earlier to give the same message to Canon Somers-Edgar.

CANON SOMERS-EDGAR:
…so many wonderful qualities. Well now you've got one wonderful quality. So I'm told.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
An embarrassing performance for the church if it were ever to become public. The man whose family had the damning home video, the then St Paul's organist who accompanied the choir, Greg Peyroux. It was filmed on the night of his 21st birthday. Raymond White was there. So was Carl Somers-Edgar, hounded by party-goers familiar with his outrageous behaviour and trying to capture it on video.

Canon Somers-Edgar agreed with TV3 that it was embarrassing – as it would be for most people who had made a risque remark in private – and observed that TV3 had aggravated that by making it public.

CANON SOMERS-EDGAR:
I'm told you've got no moral character whatsoever. ‘Scuse me, go away.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Late last year Peyroux says Dean Kirkpatrick praised his playing and offered him a new job as Assistant Organist.

GREG PEYROUX:
Then he sort of suddenly changed his mood and he said that I couldn't have the position unless I handed over the video tape  the Father Carl video tape.

MATT CONWAY:
He was that clear?

GREG PEYROUX:
Yeah. He said, 'No tape  no playing'.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
The Dean has a rather different version. He says he thought Peyroux should take a break before starting his new job.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I wanted to take Gregory seriously and his role was changing and he needed to adjust to that. It was certainly done with the intention of caring for Gregory and helping him to move from one role to another.

The Diocese complained that the editing suggested that the Dean had denied mentioning the video in his discussion of an appointment for Gregory Peyroux. It said that was not the case. It also contended that the editing was intended to convey the impression that the Dean had acted improperly in telling Gregory Peyroux that the continued use of the video would be a hurdle to future employment.

The Dean in his affidavit deposed that he had had to deal with threats in relation to the use of the videotape. He said it had been made clear to him that Dr White’s supporters, and the Peyroux family in particular, saw it as an effective weapon against the church and that they intended to use it to Dr White’s advantage in his employment claim. The Dean said that he was unwilling to allow that threat to influence the appropriate handling of a serious disciplinary matter.

The Dean complained that a clear inference was given that Gregory Peyroux had been offered the job of Assistant Organist. That was not the case, he wrote.

MATT CONWAY:
When Grey Peyroux left the organ loft, Raymond White assumed dual roles, not only playing the organ, but also coming down to conduct the choir. According to the Dean, he moved deliberately slowly and caused an unacceptable disruption to public worship.

The Diocese complained that the filming at this point was purposely designed to belittle the issue, and the phrase "according to the Dean" poured doubt on the facts and their significance.

VOICEOVER:
By now it's a powder keg ready to explode. The Dean, with the full weight of the church behind him, unhappy at Dr White's attempts to undermine his authority. Dr White claiming the Dean is putting unreasonable demands on him. And it's all unfolding in a place of worship.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
Churches can be a bit of a hothouse for people's feelings, their emotions, so sometimes extreme things happen.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
For the Dean, a far greater embarrassment is looming. Comments he made to this gay choir member finally dragged the Dean's own sexuality into the saga. Ian Stewart claims the Dean said, "Hey Ian, you should have been in my office today. There was a whole group of beautiful Samoan boys smoking outside my window. Just gorgeous. It was wonderful. I could see them, but they couldn't see me of course." V/O: Because the comment was in possible earshot of choir boys just before a service, Stewart relayed it to Dr White, and after discussing it with the men in the choir, he reported to a church warden.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
The conversation was about what they were smoking. The thought that I would have made indiscreet comments in front of the choir boys, which was actually the charge that you're referring to, is an absolute fabrication  and I'm prepared to go on oath and swear that.

IAN STEWART:
I'm perfectly content to wait till judgment day for God to decide who is lying and who isn't.

The Diocese contended that the editing sought to establish a denial by the Dean that the incident had even occurred. In fact, it argued, the major issue in dispute was whether the comments could be heard by the boys. The Dean denied that he had made the comments in front of the boys, and the Diocese argued that there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.

In the Dean’s view, the issue had been raised by Ian Stewart, a supporter of Dr White, to influence the way in which the forthcoming mediation on Dr White’s grievance about his dismissal was handled.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Dr White's paid the ultimate price for dobbing in his Dean, sacked after nearly twenty years as St Paul's Choirmaster.

The Dean denied that he had been "dobbed in", and complained that it was incorrect to state that this was the reason for Dr White’s dismissal. It was, he wrote, merely the last in a long sequence of events which led to the dismissal.

The irony …he was only protecting his boys from the sort of behaviour he himself had been accused of. They've gone back just once to St Paul's, turning up the following Sunday for a mass protest, rattling the Dean.

The complainants strongly denied that the Dean had engaged in the same sort of behaviour that Dr White had been accused of.

The Diocese pointed out that the allegations against Dr White were that he had made inappropriate sexual advances towards men of the choir. No such allegations had been made against the Dean. It noted that the allegations against Dr White had been processed at length and a legal challenge against them had been withdrawn by him. Yet, the Diocese noted, TV3 had dismissed them as inconsequential without talking to anyone involved in the process.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
They sat in the front of the Cathedral, in a block, but during the opening hymn as I walked past them I was hissed. That shook me rather more than I realised at the time. I've never been hissed in church before.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
The choir's outraged the Cathedral's governing body approved the Dean's move to sack Dr White, without being told about the fall-out from the Samoan boys comment. So the Dean, according to Dr White, was judge, jury and executioner.

The allegation that the Dean was judge, jury and executioner did not, the Bishop deposed, disclose the careful process and the compassion shown to Dr White by the Cathedral over many years before it was concluded that he should be dismissed. She described as nonsensical the implication that Dr White was dismissed to cover up the "Samoan boys" comment. Furthermore, it was noted, the Dean had not been appointed until 1996, long after the disciplinary process against Dr White had begun.

The Diocese argued that the dismissal of Dr White was far more likely to have exposed the alleged comments than to have disguised them. It maintained that the inference that the sacking was a cover-up was untenable. In fact, it noted, the comments the Dean had made were not withheld from those in authority. The Bishop and the churchwardens were satisfied as to the motivation behind the comments.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
I'm no legal mind, but even I could see that this was ridiculous.

MATT CONWAY:
What about fairness?

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
Fairness doesn't come into it. It seldom comes in. From my experience fairness seldom comes into anything that the church is involved in in this day and age.

The Diocese complained about TV3’s conclusion that the painstaking legal process undertaken was unjustified. It argued that TV3 had failed to address the reason for the withdrawal of the personal grievance complaint, which it suggested was done because Dr White knew that he would have lost his challenge to the warning.

Mr Stevenson also suggested that, had the grievance claim been heard, it would have been revealed that the young men had been lying and covering up for Dr White by withdrawing their complaints about his inappropriate behaviour.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
The process was clear. It was carefully defined in accordance with the church statutes. I think you'll find that there are lots of settings when somebody decides on someone else's employment. It happens all the time.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Back in the Cathedral, the congregation's getting used to the fill-in St Paul's Cathedral singers. Among them this man, a background player in this saga. Diccon Sim is a prominent city lawyer and establishment figure, who fell out with Dr White when he wouldn't make him Assistant Choirmaster. As the Anglican Chancellor, he closely advised Dean Kirkpatrick on the dispute with Dr White.

Mr Sim objected to this footage for several reasons. First, he complained, the footage of him while at worship at St Paul’s breached his right to privacy.

Next he complained about the implication that there was a connection between the dismissal of Dr White and the actions of a number of people, including himself, who it was inferred had acted inappropriately towards members of the choir. Mr Sim also complained that the programme imputed an improper motivation for his actions in that it contended that he had fallen out with Dr White when he would not make him the Assistant Choirmaster. He had never had such aspirations, he said.

The Diocese also complained that this section of the programme was a gratuitous attack on Mr Sim which was intended to reinforce the theme of improper motivation on behalf of the Church. It refuted the implication that advice from the Chancellor influenced the decision to dismiss Dr White. It reported that simply was not the case, and noted that independent legal advice had been taken throughout, precisely because of the Chancellor’s previous membership of the choir. The Dean in his affidavit confirmed that he had been assisted by a solicitor independent of the Cathedral in the final part of the disciplinary process.

Another former member of the all-male choir is conducting, a man called Robert Rothel. He's a divinity student, though word is the Bishop has told him he'll never be ordained. Rothel has taken a prominent church role since Jonathan Kirkpatrick became Dean. And Raymond White thinks he knows why.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
The Bishop wrote to me before his appointment, saying that he would be her candidate for the job and that she understood that this was the choir's wish. I was intrigued by this letter and I wrote back to her, that in fact it was nothing to do with the choir's wish. We had no knowledge of any other prospective candidates to compare Dean Kirkpatrick by but I did say to her that there was one person in the choir who was desperate for Jonathan Kirkpatrick to become the Dean and that was Robert Rothel.

In the context of the programme, the inference of improper motivation by the Dean was obvious, the Diocese argued. It suggested that it was clear that one of the themes of the programme was that there was a relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel which was inappropriate and sexual. That suggestion was ludicrous, it contended.

The Dean complained that it was inaccurate and unfair to describe Robert Rothel as having taken a prominent role in the cathedral since he had become Dean. In fact, the Dean pointed out, Mr Rothel had had a prominent role there "for some time" prior to his appointment as Dean in 1996.

The Bishop and Diocesan officials rejected the implication that Mr Rothel was instrumental or even an influence in the appointment of Dean Kirkpatrick. The Bishop swore in her affidavit that she had made the appointment, working with an appointments panel of senior clergy and lay people.

In the Diocese’s view, the clear basis of the whole programme was that the Dean and other members of the Cathedral hierarchy were aware of improper behaviour by Mr Rothel of a sexually predatory nature. It maintained there was no evidence of such behaviour being known to the church. It noted that the Bishop had investigated the concerns about Mr Rothel, and her inquiries had revealed that there was no need for action in relation to him.

The Diocese advised that Robert Rothel had never been a candidate for ordination. It added that the Bishop had not expressed a view on his suitability or otherwise. The Bishop rejected the implication that Mr Rothel had been instrumental in the appointment of the Dean. She denied the claim that he had sought selection for ordination, and that she had expressed a view as to his suitability.

Mr Rothel also complained about what he called the programme’s implication that a sexual relationship existed between him and the Dean. He noted that he had been acquainted with the Dean when he had lived in Christchurch, but both he, and the Dean in his own affidavit, refuted the allegation that there was any such relationship between them.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
This is the man behind the prying video camera. He's Damian Peyroux, a brother of the organist Greg Peyroux, and he's seen a darker side to Rothel after sharing a room with him.

DAMIAN PEYROUX:
Robert came down off the couch when I was sleeping on the floor and he started, he got really close to me and I was like thinking, wow this is pretty scary and then he was breathing down my neck and I pulled the sleeping bag pretty tightly shut and like he just stuck his arm around and tried to stick it down my pants. I was shivering, I was pretty scared about this, because like I couldn't believe this was happening. Like I was totally innocent about it, he tried to jump on top of me and at that stage I had to push him off. And he knew I was scared and he wouldn't leave me alone and I was alone…

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
Now married with two children, Peyroux has had to put up with Rothel spreading rumours about his sexuality. Another victim, revealing to 20/20 what happened when Rothel sexually abused him when he was just fifteen.

ANONYMOUS MAN:
He said he was cold because the window was open, that was his excuse for climbing into my bed. About ten minutes later I felt his penis pressing into my back and then I dozed. About two or three hours later I woke up with sore private parts. I think he just grabbed me during the night, it must have been for quite a while because it was quite sore.

Mr Rothel argued that neither of these two incidents was accurately reported. With respect to the encounter with Damian Peyroux, Mr Rothel swore in his affidavit that he did on one occasion have sexual contact with him. However, he stated, that incident was consensual and involved considerably more sexual contact than was described on the programme. At the time, he added, he had expressly asked Damian if he was comfortable with what was taking place, and he had expressly confirmed that he was.

As far as the incident with the anonymous man was concerned, Mr Rothel denied that the matters took place as described on the programme. He reported that he had shared a double bed with the man while staying at his family’s house. The circumstances were that he had become extremely cold and the bed in which the man was sleeping was a waterbed like his own, and which he knew would be warm. Mr Rothel stated that his relationship with the family was such that he felt he could ask if he could share the bed and the man agreed that he could do so. He added that he did not believe that the description given by the man of what happened could be regarded as credible, but deposed that the matters did not occur as he described them.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
So what does the man accused of sexual harassment think of Robert Rothel's prominence in the cathedral?

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
I wouldn't want my child to be associated with him.

The Diocese argued that the material, including comments such as this, was calculated to present Dr White as innocent of any sexual involvement within the choir, and as a (presumably married) man with a child. The Diocese noted that North and South had confirmed that he was a homosexual man who had had at least one homosexual relationship within the choir.

MATT CONWAY, voiceover:
A dramatic twist came a week ago tonight when the Dean called 20/20. He told us we hadn't heard the full story, and that supposed victims of Dr White were ready to talk. He helped set up a meeting at our motel with a man called Robert. He turned out to be none other than Robert Rothel. (Interview:) You set up those meetings ostensibly so that we could find out that Dr White had apparently sexually harassed ….

Mr Greet complained that Mr Rothel was not given an opportunity to comment in spite of the serious allegations made against him.

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I have done nothing except have a conversation with some people who told me they had something to say, and encouraged them to say what they wanted to say.

MATT CONWAY:
Now one of those men that we met….

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I am not able to comment.

MATT CONWAY:
I understand that. I understand that….

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
This is actually not a reasonable line of questioning.

MATT CONWAY:
And that person is Robert Rothel….

DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I'm sorry this is not appropriate….

MATT CONWAY:
..who we discovered, we've been told that … why are you so nervous about Robert Rothel?

The Dean advised that he had walked out of the interview because he knew that Robert Rothel had specified to TV3 that he was unwilling to appear on camera or to be identified. He said he had walked out because the question line was a breach of that arrangement.

The Dean complained that the manner in which this footage was used gave the impression that he had personal reasons for not wishing to discuss Mr Rothel. He rejected the suggestion that he had ever related inappropriately with Mr Rothel and complained that it was untrue and defamatory to suggest otherwise. He emphasised that he had only ever had a professional relationship with Mr Rothel. The Dean advised that he had no knowledge of the allegations of serious misconduct against Mr Rothel made on the programme.

The Bishop also complained that the programme implied that the Dean’s relationship with Robert Rothel was inappropriate and that the Church was aware of it, both of which inferences were untrue.

The Diocese contended that the use of the footage of the termination of the interview with the Dean was intended to bolster the impression of an inappropriate relationship, particularly when the Dean was asked why he was so nervous about Robert Rothel. It pointed out that the true reason for the Dean’s response – that it was the strict wish of Robert Rothel not to be identified in the programme – was well known to TV3. It noted that Mr Rothel had advised TV3 in writing that he did not wish to be identified and given his reasons.

Mr Stevenson also complained that TV3’s presentation of the Dean’s refusal to cooperate with an interview could be construed as evidence of the existence of an improper relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel. He described such a suggestion as ludicrous.

VOICEOVER:
Back at St Paul's, all seems serene. It’s the final irony that, Robert Rothel, sexual predator, now conducts at St Paul’s from the very position Raymond White once dominated.

Mr Rothel, and other complainants, complained about TV3’s description of him as a sexual predator.

Mr Stevenson complained that in that context the term sexual predator was totally inappropriate and unjustified. He contended that it was an emotive term which carried suggestions of serial random attacks on victims. Two other complainants, Mrs Fraser and Mr Cowan, both alleged that the description was actionable. Furthermore, Mrs Fraser argued, it was outlandish and without basis.

Mr Rothel reported that after he had resigned from the choir he had been placed in an informal role as head server, and took responsibility for conducting the Cathedral Singers. That was not, he emphasised, the same position as that held by Dr White.

MATT CONWAY, interview:
So Raymond, did you ever expect that the choir would walk out with you after your sacking?

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
In a way I took it for granted that they probably would. It didn't surprise me. We've been such a close knit group. Like a family for years and years. I've known most of them since they were quite little, like eight or nine in some cases, and you get to know most things about them and I'm sure they get to know most things about me.

MATT CONWAY:
For some strange reason, the choirmaster's job vacated by Raymond White has been advertised overseas, not here. Not to worry, the Dean told 20/20, he's close to making a temporary appointment. No prizes for guessing who the frontrunner is.

Mr Rothel objected to the suggestion that he was the frontrunner for the job. In fact, he wrote, he had no formal music qualifications and could not play the organ or piano. He complained that he had no opportunity to respond to the allegations made about him.

The Dean described the suggestion that Mr Rothel was being considered for appointment to the position as ridiculous. He, too, pointed out that Mr Rothel was totally unqualified for the position, and added that his role in church music was highly informal. Those objections were echoed by other complainants.

As for Raymond White, he's now unemployed with mounting legal bills to pay. But he's still the city organist, and he still has his family.

DR RAYMOND WHITE:
Wherever I lead my choir, they tend to go…because we are this tight knit group and I must be very wise now and not make decisions for them. But for myself, I will find a new home.

ENDS

Standards Allegedly Breached

The complainants alleged that the programme breached Standards G1, G4, G5, G6, G7, G12, G13, G14, G15, G19 and G20 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice and s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. Standards G1, G4, G5, G6, G7, G12 and G13 require broadcasters:

G1  To be truthful and accurate on points of fact.

G4  To deal justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to in any programme.

G5 To respect the principles of law which sustain our society.

G6 To show balance, impartiality and fairness in dealing with political matters, current affairs and all questions of a controversial nature.

G7 To avoid the use of any deceptive programme practice in the presentation of programmes which takes advantage of the confidence viewers have in the integrity of broadcasting.

G12 To be mindful of the effect any programme may have on children during their normally accepted viewing hours.

G13 To avoid portraying people in a way which represents as inherently inferior, or is likely to encourage discrimination against, any section of the community on account of sex, race, age, disability, occupational status, sexual orientation or the holding of any religious, cultural or political belief. This requirement is not intended to prevent the broadcast of material which is:

i)   factual, or

ii)  the expression of genuinely-held opinion in a news or current affairs programme, or

iii)  in the legitimate context of a humorous, satirical or dramatic work.

The other standards read:

G14  News must be presented accurately, objectively and impartially.

G15  The standards of integrity and reliability of news sources should be kept under constant review.

G19  Care must be taken in the editing of programme material to ensure the extracts used are a true reflection and not a distortion of the original event or the overall views expressed.

G20  No set formula can be advanced for the allocation of time to interested parties on controversial public issues. Broadcasters should aim to present all significant sides in as fair a way as possible, and this can only be done by judging every case on its merits.

Section 4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act provides:

4 (1) Every broadcaster is responsible for maintaining in its programmes and
        their presentation standards which are consistent with –

       (c)    The privacy of the individual

The privacy complaints are dealt with later in the decision.

Standard G1 – truthful and accurate

The complainants alleged the programme contained the following inaccuracies:

1.    It failed to report truthfully the circumstances of Dr White’s dismissal, the dispute which arose from that, and the action taken by the Diocese. It presented the Cathedral as having acted out of malice
       and improper motivation.

TV3 maintained that it had not set out with an agenda to support Dr White. Rather, it argued, it had highlighted the apparent hypocrisy or irony in the allegations made against him by referring to the conduct of others, and in particular to that of Canon Somers-Edgar and Robert Rothel. It added:

The presentation of these facts was not out of malice but under a duty to report matters about which the public have a legitimate concern. That includes the immorality of those who preach a certain morality.

TV3 advised that it was unable to find any critical reference to due process in the programme. In any event, it argued, the programme focussed on the outcomes, consequences and irony against the background of specific allegations against Dr White, rather than procedure or process. It maintained that the process followed by the Church was "quite irrelevant", particularly as the basic allegation against Dr White was without foundation, and yet the Dean had admitted off the record that it was the principal reason for Dr White’s dismissal.

The Diocese complained that the programme failed to report truthfully the circumstances of Dr White’s dismissal, the dispute which arose from that, and the action taken by the Diocese. It reported that it was constrained, because the matter was before the Employment Tribunal, and because of privacy considerations, from traversing in detail the issues behind the dismissal of Dr White. However, it advised, employment difficulties with Dr White went back over many years. It reported that he had been the Director of Music since 1979, and that under his leadership, the choir had attained some prominence. However, it noted, during almost the entire time of his tenure in the Diocese, his relationship with successive Deans had been strained. The Diocese noted that women priests, especially women Bishops, were an anathema to Dr White, and that much of his behaviour had been calculated to undermine Bishop Penny Jamieson, and had focussed on building up the choir against her.

The Diocese reported some of the difficulties Dr White had experienced under a previous Dean. It recounted an incident which had occurred shortly before that Dean’s departure in 1993, when two members of the choir had complained to Canon Somers-Edgar about sexual behaviour by Dr White towards them. These matters were reported to the Bishop, who had organised a committee to investigate the matters further. The young men, while confirming the substance of their concerns, progressively displayed an unwillingness to commit to them. Eventually, the Diocese reported, they attempted to deny that any issue about Dr White had ever been raised.

The Diocese’s churchwarden, Dr Tony Fitchett, referred in his affidavit to the 1993 incident. He advised that Canon Somers-Edgar had received reports from two young men in the choir that they had been chased around a motel room by Dr White who was endeavouring to kiss them. At the time Canon Somers-Edgar had directed Dr White to return to his allocated motel room and told him that it was inappropriate for him to be sharing a room with teenaged boys. The Bishop was notified of this matter in 1996 when further matters of concern were brought to Canon Somers-Edgar’s attention.

The second incident, the affidavit continued, involved a brother of one of the young men in the 1993 incident. It was alleged that Dr White had harassed a choir member at a party. The young man had asked Canon Somers-Edgar if he could get Dr White to stop his behaviour. Canon Somers-Edgar had consulted two other Cathedral Canons who confirmed that he was obliged to report the matter to the Bishop (who was acting Dean). The Bishop had then appointed Dr Fitchett to investigate, at which time Canon Somers-Edgar’s involvement ceased. In his affidavit, Dr Fitchett reported that the boys were unwilling to put their concerns about Dr White in writing and later had attempted to deny what had earlier been reported. However, Dr Fitchett said, he was "left with no doubt that events had occurred involving inappropriate sexual behaviour by Dr White towards young men of the choir".

The Diocese advised that the matter had been treated as a disciplinary matter, and an extensive process had been followed. Having fully considered the matter, the Bishop had issued a warning to Dr White. The Diocese wrote:

She was in no doubt that, despite recantations by those who had reported the matters to Canon Somers-Edgar, and confirmed them with Dr Fitchett, events had indeed taken place which involved actions unacceptable from an employee with supervisory responsibility for young persons. There was particular worry about the willingness of those with concerns about matters to alter stories to protect a person behaving inappropriately towards them.

Following the issuing of the warning, the Diocese noted that Dr White had lodged grievance proceedings with the Employment Tribunal and the matter stood on the Tribunal’s list for a year awaiting a date for a hearing. By the time Dean Kirkpatrick was appointed in 1996, the disciplinary process over that matter had been concluded, it wrote.

The Diocese recorded that the Dean had endeavoured to establish a good working relationship with Dr White, despite the fact that Dr White had challenged the warning and was seeking compensation. At the time of the Dean’s appointment it appeared that an employment relationship could be appropriately established. However, the Diocese reported, that did not occur.

In his affidavit, the Dean also traversed Dr White’s employment history and the personal grievance proceedings. He confirmed that initially he had had a good relationship with Dr White, but that it had deteriorated over time. The Dean reported that the incidents which initiated the final disciplinary process were related to the protests by Dr White over his (the Dean’s) decision not to appoint Gregory Peyroux to the position of Assistant Organist. On three consecutive Sundays, the Dean advised, Dr White had made slow and unnecessary trips from the organ loft to the choir stalls, intentionally interrupting the service. He had been spoken to on each occasion, but had persisted with what the Dean described as this "protest". The Dean said he had then initiated a formal disciplinary process because in his view Dr White’s behaviour was calculated to undermine his authority and destroy the relationship between them.

The Diocese recorded that an extensive process had been followed and it was ultimately decided to attempt to mediate the matter. The day before the process was due to begin, it reported that Dr White had approached one of the Church wardens who was assisting in the process and told him that the Dean was living with a male prostitute and had made inappropriate comments about some Samoan boys. The Diocese reported that the warden was clear that those comments had been made in order to see his relationship with the Dean undermined, or to frighten the Dean into backing off disciplinary action against Dr White.

It was after this, the Diocese continued, that the Dean decided to seek consent of the Chapter to the dismissal of Dr White, as required under the Cathedral’s statutes. The Chapter endorsed the Dean’s proposal that the dismissal become effective after a period of time during which Dr White would be afforded the opportunity to resign and negotiate a retirement gratuity. The Diocese advised that he did not take that option. In fact, he served formal employment proceedings two days after the broadcast of the programme, the Diocese wrote. These were subsequently withdrawn.

Immediately following Dr White’s dismissal, the Cathedral Choir left the Cathedral en masse. The Diocese noted that many of them attended the next service as a protest, and again elements of purposeful disruption of worship occurred.

The Dean acknowledged that part of the breakdown of the employment relationship between Dr White and the Diocese dated back to the warning given in 1996 relating to the incident which occurred during a choir trip to Christchurch in 1993, and another incident. However, as the Diocese submitted, there were other instances of misconduct which led to the breakdown of the employment relationship and the dismissal. They included Dr White’s disruption of worship and deliberate defiance of instructions; his outbursts in the staff room; his involvement with Friends of Cathedral Music; lying to the Dean over a National Choirs event; and his attempt to undermine the Dean’s position with the church warden by alleging first that he was living with a former male prostitute, and secondly by telling him of the "Samoan boys" comment. All of these matters, the Diocese noted, were cited in the dismissal letter which TV3 had a copy of, yet only two were referred to in the programme. The first was the reference to the disruption of worship which, the Diocese contended, was dealt with dismissively in an attempt to belittle its seriousness, and the second was the reference to the "Samoan boys" comment, which the Diocese claimed the programme distorted.

Mr Sim complained about the programme’s overriding theme which he said was that Dr White’s dismissal was unfair, and that the warning he had received in 1996 for inappropriate sexual behaviour towards members of the choir had also been unfair. In addition, he contended that TV3 had failed to respect the Church’s position in following due legal process, and its wish not to disclose information publicly which it considered personal to Dr White.

In its final submission, TV3 argued that it had abundant evidence to support its conclusion that the dismissal was motivated at least in part by reasons other than those asserted by the Diocese.

The Authority finds that the programme inadequately dealt with the matters surrounding the dismissal of Dr White, with the result that it left a false impression as to the reasons for it. For example, the Authority notes, it was not made clear that Dr White had a long history of discord with several Deans under whom he had worked during his time at St Paul’s, or that an extensive process of mediation had been undertaken in an attempt to resolve previous employment difficulties as well as those involving the present Dean. Further, the programme omitted to mention all but two of the matters upon which the Dean relied for the dismissal, and by doing so, implied that the dismissal was based on flimsy or spurious grounds ("for dobbing in the Dean"), giving weight thereby to Dr White’s claim that he was dismissed unfairly.

The Authority finds the programme contained a strong implication that the matters relied upon were spurious, and that there was "hypocrisy surrounding the dismissal of Dr White as choirmaster".

The Authority does not agree with TV3’s assertion that it had confirmation that there was "no basis at all for the allegation of sexual misconduct" cited as a ground for Dr White’s dismissal, and which was reported by Canon Somers-Edgar to the Bishop in May 1996. It notes that the affidavit upon which TV3 relies admits that there was an incident in 1993 involving alcohol, young choir men and Dr White apparently chasing and attempting to kiss them. With the passage of time, the significance of that event appears to have waned, but it is apparent that at the time it was regarded as serious because it was reported to those in authority.

The Authority also finds a clear implication in the programme that the dismissal occurred primarily on the Dean’s initiative. It does not agree that that is an accurate synopsis of the actual events which had occurred. While it is true that the dismissal occurred during Dean Kirkpatrick’s tenure, it notes that there had been employment difficulties for some years. Dean Kirkpatrick swears in his affidavit that his working relationship with Dr White began promisingly, but that it deteriorated to the point where dismissal was the only remedy. In pursuing the theme that the dismissal was unfair and unwarranted, TV3 presented only the view of Dr White and his supporters, the Authority finds. The Dean, as the only spokesperson for the balancing view, was not asked on camera why Dr White was dismissed. The programme left viewers with the impression that the Dean had made a unilateral decision to dismiss Dr White (he was "judge, jury and executioner") and that the dismissal was, in Dr White’s words, "ridiculous" and that "fairness doesn’t come into it."

The Authority notes TV3’s submission that the process followed by the Church over Dr White ’s dismissal was "quite irrelevant", and its contention that the allegation against Dr White was without foundation. In the Authority’s view, that argument is fallacious. The Authority notes the "off the record" discussion relied on by TV3. Even if this amounted to an admission by the Dean (and the Authority is not clear about that), the Diocesan process was still fundamental to the programme.

It does not agree that the dismissal process was irrelevant. In fact, the Authority considers the process followed to be central to understanding the Diocese’s perspective on events, and to assessing the legitimacy or otherwise of its actions.

That due process was followed, in the Authority’s opinion, gives the lie to the programme’s inference that Dr White was dismissed largely at the Dean’s behest, and in part for reasons personal to him.

The Authority concludes that TV3’s account of the process and grounds for dismissal were inaccurate, both by misrepresentation and omission, and it therefore upholds this aspect of the complaint.

2.    The programme falsely alleged that the reason for the dismissal was to suppress evidence of the Dean’s own misconduct and to enable the Dean’s lover Rothel to be appointed choirmaster.

TV3 responded that if there was an imputation about the Dean’s relationship with Mr Rothel, then there were remedies in defamation, not under the Broadcasting Act. It noted that the programme correctly stated that Robert Rothel had supported the Dean’s appointment to the Diocese of Dunedin and that the Dean had consented to Mr Rothel performing the role of temporary choir master after Dr White was dismissed.

The Diocese maintained that the first allegation was made expressly (Dr White has paid the ultimate price for dobbing in his Dean, sacked after nearly 20 years as St Paul’s choirmaster), and the second by innuendo.

The allegation that Dr White was sacked because he dobbed in the Dean was untruthful and inaccurate, the Diocese contended. It pointed to evidence on the field tapes where the reporter had cut off attempts by Dr White to discuss other reasons for the dismissal, interrupting him by saying "let’s stick to this last issue…this is the important one…". It also noted that TV3 had failed to make enquiry of the church warden to whom Dr White had "dobbed in" the Dean, even though it knew that the churchwarden believed that Dr White had been motivated by malice in making the report. Further, the Diocese noted, the programme failed to mention that the "Samoan boys" comment was but one of two allegations made by Dr White about the Dean to the churchwarden. The other allegation was that the Dean was living with a former male prostitute. The Diocese observed that TV3 excluded this allegation even though it knew it formed part of the stated reasons for the dismissal. It speculated that the reason it omitted to mention this was because it would have cast doubt on Dr White’s credibility and motives. The Diocese also pointed out that a formal disciplinary process had already been embarked upon – with a view to dismissal as a possible outcome – before the "Samoan boys" comment had been made, and that TV3 knew this.

The Diocese identified a number of extracts from the transcript which, it contended, conveyed the innuendo of an improper relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel. In its view, the imputation was clearly there. It noted that the reporter in his affidavit had conceded that the likelihood of Mr Rothel replacing Dr White had been "overstated".

TV3 in its final comment acknowledged that it was "quite possible" that some of Dr White’s views and assumptions might not be correct. It suggested that his belief that Mr Rothel might be the favourite for his position as choirmaster was "entirely understandable" despite its not eventuating. It submitted that the expression of opinion relating to circumstances where there was factual evidence did not amount to an untruthful or inaccurate representation of points of fact.

In the Authority’s view, the programme gave the clear impression that Dr White’s dismissal was related to the Dean’s "Samoan boys" comment. Indeed, it finds that is the only possible interpretation of the phrase "Dr White’s paid the ultimate price for dobbing in his Dean, sacked after nearly twenty years as choirmaster." The Authority is aware that TV3 had copies of correspondence (both Dr White’s dismissal letter and a statement from the churchwarden regarding the report to him of the Samoan boys comment) which made it clear that Dr White had already received a warning in relation to his employment and that there were a number of matters, including the way in which Dr White had sought to use the Samoan boys comment, which had led to the dismissal. Furthermore, the Authority notes, TV3 was aware of the historical context of the dismissal letter and the fact that Dr White had been on notice regarding his employment.

The Authority concludes that the programme conveyed a false impression as to the reason why Dr White was dismissed, and upholds this also as a breach of standard G1.

As for the imputation of an improper relationship between the Dean and Robert Rothel, the Authority deals with this matter under standard G4 below.

3.    The church had taken action against the choir, and the choir was on the outer. "They used to sing inside St Paul’s Cathedral. Now they’re on the outer. …And who was plotting against the choir…?

TV3 emphasised that it was a fact that the choir did not feel it was welcome inside the Cathedral. It referred to the Dean’s Report to the Annual Meeting of the Diocese in 1998 where he said of the choir: "They have served the cathedral well. I say a sincere thank you to them and Goodbye." TV3 contended it was therefore justified to state that the choir was on the outer and to reveal that there had been a long history of discord between the choir and the Cathedral.

The Diocese responded that the choir had at all times been free and welcome to remain. The Dean reported that following Dr White’s dismissal the choir had attended the Cathedral as a group and had proceeded to disrupt the service by hissing at him.

The Diocese objected to the inference that there was a plot against the choir. It said that the truth was that the choir had chosen to leave because it had greater loyalty to Dr White than to the institution of the church. None of its members had discussed their action with the Dean or anyone else in the Cathedral. The Diocese added that the Cathedral did not seek or wish that outcome.

The Authority concludes that this was a generalised observation which does not infringe the standard.

4.    Choirboys were at risk from sexual predators.

TV3 did not respond directly to this point.

The Diocese argued that there was no basis for this allegation. It maintained that far from having left its choir unprotected, it had at all times sought to ensure that conduct was proper and appropriate. Pursuant to that policy, it wrote, it had taken action against Dr White.

In the Authority’s view, this statement implied that there were grounds to believe under-age boys in the choir were at risk from more than one known predator. The comment that both the Bishop and the Dean knew the "dangers" adds weight to this. The Authority is not satisfied that there was any reliable evidence from which such a conclusion could be drawn. It therefore upholds this aspect of the complaint.

5.    "A whispering campaign had begun using sex as the weapon and a vulnerable choirmaster as the target."

TV3 contended this statement was true. It relied upon a letter written in May 1996 by Canon Somers-Edgar to the Bishop, and what transpired thereafter in the choir, among those in authority, and in the congregation.

The Diocese maintained that referring to Dr White as a "vulnerable choirmaster as the target" and the use of "sex as a weapon" clearly indicated that TV3 believed that Dr White had been treated with bad faith. The reference to the "whispering campaign", it contended, suggested that the church had released information to harm Dr White. In fact, it wrote, the reverse was true, and the church had acted with care to prevent the release of information which could do him harm.

The Dean also rejected the implication that the Cathedral authorities had begun a "whispering campaign" against Dr White, leading to his dismissal. He noted that the legal approaches which had been followed were confidential, and all information relied on had been placed before Dr White and his legal advisor.

To the extent this statement refers to the employment process, the Authority concludes that this was a highly prejudicial statement which did not accurately describe what had occurred in relation to Dr White’s dismissal. Rather than a "whispering campaign" there was a transparent and procedurally correct process undertaken in accordance with employment law principles, the Authority observes. Based on the documents which the Authority has read, it also believes that it is likely that if Dr White was vulnerable it was due to his own reported behaviour rather than external causes. It upholds the complaint that the statement was inaccurate.

6.    The choir was involved in a 'hellish dispute' and the programme dealt with a 'saga of blackmail and deceit.'"

TV3 defended its description of the choir as being involved in a "hellish dispute". It noted that the item showed the choir singing outside the Cathedral in a show of unity with Dr White. They had also attended a church service where they had hissed at the Dean.

Its use of the phrase "saga of blackmail and deceit" was justified, TV3 asserted, and it referred to the Dean’s insistence that Gregory Peyroux surrender the videotape of Canon Somers-Edgar before he would be allowed to resume playing the organ in the Cathedral. Another justification for the use of the phrase was, according to TV3, that the young men who had reported the incidents involving Dr White’s improper conduct had subsequently denied that any wrongdoing occurred.

The Dean interpreted the reference to blackmail as relating to the allegation that he had blackmailed Gregory Peyroux over his holding of the videotape. The Dean claimed that was an unfair and highly damaging portrayal of steps taken by him which would be regarded as appropriate by any employer. On the other hand, he argued, it would have been fair to state that Canon Somers-Edgar had over the years been blackmailed with the threat of the use of the video by those who had it in their possession.

The expression "hellish dispute" is, the Authority finds, colourful language which is probably justified in connection with the events which the programme related. It also finds the reference to blackmail and deceit were justified as they related to a view which could be taken of various people involved in the Cathedral’s problems at the time. It concludes that there was no breach of the standard.

7.    The programme contained " a story of hypocrisy and hidden agendas".

This statement was absolutely true, TV3 contended. It argued that the hypocrisy and bigotry existing at St Paul’s Cathedral was demonstrated by what 20/20 published, and what it was otherwise aware of. It added:

The programme was an unashamed exposure of hypocritical and bigoted conduct by those who advocate a certain morality which they did not or do not appear to practice.

The Dean argued that while TV3 had contended that it had exposed hypocrisy and bigotry, it had demonstrated nothing more than its inability to evaluate critically what it was told. The Dean said he did not know who it was that TV3 was accusing of bigotry, or what that bigotry alluded to.

In the Authority’s view, this somewhat pejorative observation was used to advance the programme’s general thesis, but did not in itself constitute a breach of standards.

8.    The St Paul’s Cathedral choir was the last all-male Cathedral choir in New Zealand.

TV3 said it stood by its statement that the choir was New Zealand’s last all-male Cathedral choir. It advised that the statement had been confirmed by an independent source. It argued that just because the Dean had expressed a different view did not mean that the statement was untrue.

The Dean responded that he did not understand TV3’s point. He noted that Christchurch Cathedral maintained an all-male choir. That, he said, was a fact, and not a "different view".

The Authority does not consider that it is its task to ascertain the truth or otherwise of this assertion. There is conflicting information, but the Authority understands there might well be another all-male Cathedral choir. However, in the programme’s context, it finds it to be a very minor matter. It declines to uphold this aspect.

9.    Canon Somers-Edgar had triggered baseless allegations against Dr White.

TV3 maintained that it was accurate to state that the allegations of sexual harassment had been triggered by Canon Somers-Edgar. It referred to a letter written by Canon Somers-Edgar to the Bishop in 1996 in which he had detailed the complaints made on two separate occasions by young men in the choir who alleged they had been subjected to Dr White’s inappropriate behaviour.

However, TV3 contended, Dr White’s accusers had never in fact made complaints against him. The allegations were later withdrawn and were therefore without foundation and yet, it argued, those "groundless" assertions were the reasons for Dr White’s dismissal.

The Dean pointed out that Canon Somers-Edgar was not the "genesis of the allegations", but had simply reported on matters of which he was informed. The first incident had occurred when the choir was in Christchurch. At the time, the incident was reported to the Assistant Choirmaster by the young men involved. He advised them that it should be reported to Canon Somers-Edgar, who was also a member of the choir and was on the Christchurch trip. The matter was first dealt with informally by Canon Somers-Edgar, although it was reported to the Bishop when allegations were made in 1996 about Dr White’s inappropriate behaviour on another occasion.

The Diocese pointed out that in addition to the initial reports to Canon Somers-Edgar, clear evidence of the matters of concern was available from other sources, including an affidavit by Dominique Peyroux, and a letter from another choir member who had been the subject of Dr White’s attentions.

Dr Fitchett, a lay canon and Diocesan official, deposed in his affidavit, which was attached to the Diocese’s complaint, that during the investigation into the allegations, the young men involved in both the 1993 incident and the later incident had been unwilling to make written statements because they had not wanted to be implicated in an inquiry which could lead to Dr White’s dismissal. Dr Fitchett stated that he was left in no doubt that events had occurred involving inappropriate sexual behaviour by Dr White towards young men of the choir. He said he was particularly concerned at the willingness of those involved to seek to cover the matter up, despite having raised it with Canon Somers-Edgar and others.

TV3 maintained that it had confirmation that there was no basis at all for the allegations of sexual misconduct to justify Canon Somers-Edgar’s letter to the Bishop.

In the Authority’s view, it was incorrect to state that the allegations had been triggered by Canon Somers-Edgar. The position was that the allegations had been reported to him, in his capacity as a member of the clergy and a senior member of the choir, and he had acted on them both informally at the time, and by reporting to the Bishop on a subsequent occasion. The Authority does not consider that could be interpreted as "triggering" the allegations. As for the implication that the allegations were "baseless" the Authority finds that on no view of it could it be said this was so. It refers to Dr Fitchett’s affidavit in which he swore that he was in no doubt that Dr White was responsible for inappropriate sexual behaviour towards young men of the choir. It also notes the acknowledgment in Dominique Peyroux’s affidavit that there was an incident in a Christchurch motel room when Dr White attempted to kiss him. Neither does the Authority agree with TV3 that the withdrawal of the allegations necessarily implied they were baseless. The Authority upholds this aspect of the complaint.

10.    Dr White was innocent of any inappropriate behaviour.

TV3 argued that there was no evidence to sustain the allegations that Dr White had behaved inappropriately. In particular it pointed to the interviews with the three alleged victims which, it claimed, had not substantiated those allegations.

The Diocese reported that after an extensive investigation it had been clear that the reports of inappropriate and unwelcome behaviour by Dr White had substance, and although that behaviour was not at a gross level, it was certainly unacceptable from an employee with supervisory responsibility for young people.

In his affidavit, Mr Rothel deposed that he and other choir members had genuine concerns about Dr White’s behaviour towards choir members. Mr Rothel swore that he personally had been subjected to unwelcome touching and kissing and had observed it directed to others on several occasions. He said there could be no suggestion that Dr White’s actions were simply innocent and affectionate behaviour towards friends. A number of choir members, he said, had indicated their unhappiness at Dr White’s behaviour.

Other complainants noted that there was credible information supporting the Cathedral’s conclusion in 1996 that Dr White had behaved inappropriately.

The Authority notes that questions were put to Dr White directly as to whether he had ever harassed any of the boys in the choir or had behaved improperly. Dr White responded in the negative to both questions. The first question relates to harassment of boys in the choir, the Authority observes, when in fact the allegations concerned the young men of the choir. It subsumes this aspect under standard G6 and deals with it below.

11.    The warning to Dr White was unjustified ("Despite denials, Dr White still got a written warning") and the Bishop behaved inappropriately in relation to Dr White’s employment.

TV3 noted that the programme clearly indicated that Dr White was formally warned after allegations of sexual impropriety with members of the choir. Yet, it reported, two of those choir members later denied any impropriety on the part of Dr White. TV3 pointed out that those denials were known to the Bishop but that she had issued the warning nevertheless. TV3 added:

"The programme stated that Dr White received a warning. The church believed it had sufficient grounds to issue a warning and must have believed it had followed the process appropriately. The difficulty for the church is that the foundation of the allegation was found to be wanting."

The Bishop and Diocesan officials reiterated that the process which had been undertaken in relation to the dismissal of Dr White had been scrupulously fair, and that both Dr White and the Diocese had had the benefit of independent legal advice.

The complainants rejected TV3’s assumption that the withdrawal of the complaints against Dr White was proof that they were baseless. The Diocese reported that the subsequent withdrawal of the complaints lacked credibility and gave it concern over the level of influence able to be exercised by Dr White on the two young men who had lodged the complaints.

The Authority does not consider this is a standard G1 matter and returns to the point below when it deals with balance.

12.    The Church tried to jack up a job for Dr White in Australia.

TV3 acknowledged that it was "an overstatement of the facts" to state that the Church had tried to jack Dr White up with a job in Australia. However, it argued, in the overall context of the programme, and Dr White’s honestly held view, this was indeed the case. It referred to a document in its possession where it was stated that the Diocese was "going to encourage Dr White to apply for a job in Sydney". TV3 advised it proposed no further action on this matter beyond bringing it to the attention of the reporter and producer.

The Dean contended that "an overstatement of facts" was still an untruth. He pointed out that TV3 could have confirmed the truth of the statement had it put the matter to him.

The Authority notes that TV3 acknowledged that the statement was an "overstatement" and therefore not true. It upholds the complaint under standard G1.

13.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s performance on the videotape was evidence that he endorsed paedophilia.'

TV3 responded that the video recorded matters of fact. It maintained that it was appropriate for the public to see Canon Somers-Edgar’s "immorality", including his inebriated state, and his apparent endorsement or enjoyment of sex with children. The public had a legitimate interest in knowing about such conduct, it argued.

Canon Somers-Edgar complained that the videotape was culled to isolate the most improper remarks, strip them of their context and put a dishonest spin on them, implying that he was a homosexual paedophile. He argued that any person against whom such an imputation was raised should have an opportunity to comment.

The Diocese argued that a proper consideration of the full tape would have made it plain to TV3 that the comments could in no way be construed as containing the suggestion that Canon Somers-Edgar engaged in or endorsed paedophilia, or that his comments were intended to be taken seriously. It pointed out that even the extracts shown revealed the encouragement and appreciation of those listening to the performance.

The Authority notes that TV3 appears to accept that the videotape provided evidence that Canon Somers-Edgar endorsed paedophilia. It makes no finding on this as a matter of accuracy, but will return to the point when it deals with issues of fairness and balance.

14.    The Dean was guilty of blackmailing Gregory Peyroux.

It was a fact, TV3 noted, that the Dean insisted that Gregory Peyroux surrender the videotape before he was allowed to resume playing the organ.

The Dean denied that he had insisted that Gregory Peyroux would not be allowed to play the organ unless he surrendered the videotape and asserted that contrary to what was alleged in the programme, it was not a case of "no tape, no playing". As Gregory Peyroux himself told the reporter, he had resumed playing the organ in church again, despite not having surrendered the tape. However, the Dean said in his affidavit, he had also indicated to Gregory Peyroux that he would not find it appropriate to make a formal appointment to the staff of the Cathedral of someone who was using the videotape in the way in which he and his family were. In the Dean’s view, that was a course of action which any reasonable employer would take.

The Dean pointed out that he was never asked by TV3 about his request of Gregory Peyroux to hand over the video, nor about the Assistant Organist position. The Diocese concluded that it was plain from the reporter’s affidavit that a deliberate decision had been made to conceal the existence and intended use of the video from any person who might respond to or challenge the contents of it. It maintained that the video was irrelevant to the issue which the programme claimed to investigate and determine, namely the reasons for Dr White’s dismissal.

The Authority notes the Dean’s point that the matter was never put to him by TV3. It considers this aspect of the complaint, and the Diocese’s contention, is more appropriately dealt with below when it deals with the complaints that the programme was unfair.

15.    The disruption to public worship represented by Dr White’s slow walking demonstration wasof no significance and it was unreasonable to rely on it in a disciplinary process.

TV3 did not respond directly to this aspect of the complaint.

In its complaint, the Diocese recorded that it was the Dean’s decision not to reappoint Gregory Peyroux as the Organ scholar which brought matters to a head with respect to Dr White’s employment. It noted that at the beginning of 1998 Dr White had used the fact that he had no assistant as a point of protest to disrupt Cathedral services by making purposely slow and unnecessary trips from the choir stalls to the organ loft. He was warned about this behaviour on two successive Sundays, and on the third Sunday the Dean initiated a formal disciplinary process. At that time, the Dean put Dr White on notice that the employment relationship had broken down.

Mr Crayston, the Diocese’s people's warden, deposed in his affidavit which accompanied the Diocese’s complaint that it was obvious from Dr White’s demeanour and the circumstances that the slow walking was done for the purpose of protest.

The Dean described Dr White’s behaviour, when he made slow and unnecessary trips between the organ loft and the choir stalls, as purposeful disruption of worship by a Cathedral employee. In the Dean’s view, that was among the worst kind of misconduct that could be imagined in the context of religious worship.

The Diocese noted that TV3 knew of these concerns because they were contained in the dismissal letter which it had a copy of, and because the Dean had told the reporter, as evidenced on the field tapes. However, the programme failed to mention that Dr White had been warned over his behaviour. As the Dean was recorded explaining to the reporter, it was not so much the period of time that Dr White took to get from the organ loft to the choir stall (2 ½ minutes) as the fact that he was not doing it for legitimate purposes. In addition, Dr White had deliberately defied the Dean’s instruction to avoid any hiatus in the service.

In the Authority’s view this raises issues of balance and impartiality and it considers the point below when it deals with complaints that standard G6 was breached.

16.    Dr White was dismissed for raising, in good faith, the "Samoan boys" issue (for "dobbing in his Dean").'

TV3 defended its use of the phrase "dobbing in his Dean" in relation to Dr White reporting to the warden the comment made by the Dean about the Samoan boys. It argued that Dr White’s reporting of this incident had been a key factor in his dismissal.

The Diocese complained that it was clear that TV3 believed the reason for the dismissal of Dr White was that he had reported the Dean’s remarks about the "Samoan boys". It said that flew in the face of the dismissal letter, which TV3 had seen, and the fact that Dr White had already been told that dismissal was a possibility before the matter had even been raised.

The Dean reiterated that this matter was not the reason for Dr White’s dismissal, but was simply the last in a long sequence of events which had led to the dismissal. However he suggested that this incident alone could well be a reason to dismiss an employee in that it effectively amounted to blackmail. The Dean pointed out that at the time the comment was reported to the church warden, Dr White had already been told that dismissal was a possibility and a process of mediation had been initiated.

It was inaccurate to state that the reason for Dr White’s dismissal had been his reporting of the Dean’s "Samoan boys" comment, the Authority concludes. In its view, Dr White’s motives in recounting the comment were not well-intentioned. It considers it is reasonable to assume that reporting the matter to the church warden at a time calculated to coincide with the disciplinary process was mischievous on Dr White’s part, and had the potential to derail the mediation process already under way. It upholds this aspect as a breach of standard G1.

17.    Dr White was dismissed on a series of trumped up charges.

TV3 denied that there was any imputation that the dismissal was on "a series of trumped up charges." However, it noted, the two young men at the centre of the 1993 incident had both subsequently denied that any wrongdoing had occurred. Further, the three people nominated by the Dean as being able to confirm allegations of serious sexual misconduct by Dr White had not identified matters which were of the degree of seriousness alleged by the Dean. In his affidavit, the reporter swore that in his opinion the allegations of two of the men were so trivial as to be inconsequential. With respect to Robert Rothel’s account of being sexually harassed by Dr White, the reporter concluded that "what he said was nonsense".

The Dean maintained that the imputation had been made. He argued that the fact that the two young men denied that they had ever accused Dr White of sexually harassing them sufficed to undermine the serious view the Diocese took of Dr White’s misconduct. That was contrary to the evidence which was available to TV3, the Dean contended, and in particular was not reconcilable with the contents of the dismissal letter, of which TV3 had a copy. He also noted that TV3 had a copy of Dominique Peyroux’s affidavit, in which he swore that "on one occasion I thought he [Dr White] attempted to kiss me…at the time I found the behaviour upsetting." However, the programme did not mention this, he wrote.

Mr Rothel also reported an incident of inappropriate behaviour. He swore in his affidavit that there had been an occasion in the choir room when Dr White had grabbed him and kissed him. On another occasion, he reported, Dr White had stroked his leg while in the back of a car.

The Dean complained that TV3 had ignored the evidence of Mr Rothel – and other former members of the choir – when they reported incidents which illustrated what he called Dr White’s inappropriate behaviour.

The Authority concludes that the programme did contain the innuendo that Dr White had been dismissed on spurious grounds. However, it concludes, this is more appropriately dealt with as a matter of balance, and is considered below in the discussion under standard G6.

18.    The Dean was guilty of the same kind of behaviour for which Dr White had been dealt with in 1996.

TV3 responded that its understanding of the position was:

  • Allegations of impropriety had been made about Dr White.
  • The relationship between the Dean and Dr White had been under protracted strain.
  • Dr White had made allegations about the Dean’s sexual impropriety, namely the Dean’s comments in front of the choir regarding Samoan boys.
  • The Dean had described the allegations by Dr White against him as "the last straw".
  • Dr White was subsequently dismissed.
  • The Dean had told TV3’s reporter "off the record" that the fundamental reason for Dr White’s dismissal was the allegation that he sexually abused/harassed choir boys.

The Diocese noted that the allegations against Dr White were of inappropriate sexual advances towards men, not boys, of the choir and that there was no evidence that the Dean had ever sexually harassed choirboys. It observed that the only material TV3 relied on to justify this allegation was the "Samoan boys" comment. There, the Dean, at worst, had made a comment to another gay man on a friendly footing. The Diocese argued that such a remark in a heterosexual context would be almost universally regarded as appropriate. The issue of whether the remark could have been heard by the boys was, the Dean contended, the matter which was in dispute. He denied that he had made the comment in the hearing of the choir boys.

In her affidavit, the Bishop stated that it was unjust and irrational to allege that the Dean’s behaviour was the same as that for which Dr White was disciplined in 1996. She maintained that there was no comparison between the comment the Dean allegedly made, and which she argued had been maliciously exploited, and Dr White’s behaviour, regarding which careful legal process had concluded in 1996 that a warning was justified.

The Diocese advised that Dr White’s conduct had been treated as a disciplinary matter and an extensive process had been followed. Having fully considered the matter, the Bishop had issued a warning to Dr White. The Diocese wrote:

She [the Bishop] was in no doubt that, despite recantations by those who had reported the matters to Canon Somers-Edgar, and confirmed them with Dr Fitchett, events had indeed taken place which involved actions unacceptable from an employee with supervisory responsibility for young persons. There was particular worry about the willingness of those with concerns about matters to alter stories to protect a person behaving inappropriately towards them.

Following the issuing of the warning, the Diocese noted that Dr White lodged grievance proceedings with the Employment Tribunal, and the matter had stood on the Tribunal’s list for a year awaiting a date for a hearing. By the time Dean Kirkpatrick was appointed in 1996, the disciplinary process had been concluded, it wrote.

The Dean reiterated that even if the story against him were true, it was not the same kind of behaviour as that for which Dr White was disciplined.

In its final comment, TV3 maintained that it could not be argued that the programme had alleged that the Dean was guilty of sexually harassing choir boys.

The Authority notes that the programme states that it was ironic that Dr White had been dismissed for "dobbing in his Dean" when he was just "protecting his boys from the sort of behaviour he himself had been accused of." The Authority notes that the accusation against Dr White originated with a number of people, choir members as well as church officials. However, the programme took the position that the Dean was primarily responsible for pursuing it. It notes that this was within the scope of his Cathedral duties.

In the Authority’s view, there was no foundation for the conclusion that the behaviour for which Dr White had been dismissed was comparable to the Dean’s "Samoan boys" remark, an analogy it believes the programme deliberately drew. It notes that TV3 had access to the Dean’s dismissal letter, which identified the reasons for the dismissal. The matters relied upon related to Dr White’s conduct which was designed to undermine the Dean’s position in the Cathedral. Incidents of inappropriate behaviour towards men of the choir which had occurred during the tenure of previous Deans provided further justification for the dismissal. The Authority finds TV3’s conclusion that the Dean’s behaviour was comparable to Dr White’s – which it believes was clearly implied – inaccurate and a breach of standard G1. It also deals with the matter under fairness below.

19.    The Dean had behaved inappropriately in the disciplinary process by being judge, jury and executioner and had done so to disguise the "Samoan boys" comment.

TV3 noted that this was Dr White’s view and that it was balanced by a comment from the Dean when he stated clearly that "the process was clear. It was carefully defined in accordance with the church statutes." TV3 referred to correspondence between the Dean and his counsel which quite clearly indicated that the Dean was the employer, the person capable of issuing warnings and the person capable of dismissing. The use of the phrase was appropriate, TV3 argued, where the same individual had the ability to investigate, try and dismiss someone in an employment context.

The Dean responded that the process which was followed was a normal legal procedure, and one which was routinely used by CEOs. He also pointed out that the disciplinary process against Dr White had begun long before he was appointed Dean in 1996.

The Authority acknowledges that the report made it clear that this was Dr White’s view. It was accurately reported and attributed to Dr White. However, it leaves the question as to whether it was fair to the Dean. The Authority will deal with this as a standard G4 matter and subsumes the accuracy complaint accordingly.

20.    Mr Sim, the Diocesan Chancellor, sought the position of Assistant Choirmaster. Mr Sim fell out with Dr White when he was not appointed Assistant Choirmaster.

TV3 responded that it had been advised that Mr Sim had made his aspirations known. It added that Dr White was unequivocal about Mr Sim’s aspirations.

Mr Sim asserted there was no truth to the claim that he was ever a candidate for the position of Assistant Choirmaster. He pointed out that no vacancy had ever been available and neither he, nor anyone else, would have considered him an acceptable replacement even if such a vacancy had existed. He deposed that he had never had a conversation about being appointed to the position and had never aspired to hold such a position. He wrote:

I have never had a conversation with Dr White about being appointed to the assistant choirmaster’s position, nor have I ever aspired to hold such a position.

He reported that he had left the choir because of his increasing work load and because his relationship with Dr White had deteriorated due to Dr White’s attitude to the Church, the Bishop, the Cathedral and the clergy.

Other complainants wrote that it was factually incorrect to state that Mr Sim had aspirations to be Assistant Choirmaster and unfair that Mr Sim was not given an opportunity to comment.

These comments were repeated by Dr Fitchett in his affidavit, which accompanied the Diocese’s complaint. He stated that it was "demonstrably untrue" to say that Mr Sim had fallen out with Dr White because he had refused to appoint him Assistant Choirmaster. Not only was there no vacancy for the position, he observed, but there was no way Mr Sim would have believed himself to be qualified for the position.

The Authority notes that the report stated as fact that Mr Sim had fallen out with Dr White when he would not make him Assistant Choirmaster. It is clear to the Authority that the source of this information was Dr White. However, the Authority notes, although it could well have been Dr White’s view, it was cited as fact and not attributed to him. The statement was patently incorrect, the Authority concludes, and a clear breach of standard G1. No attempt had been made by TV3 to contact Mr Sim to verify the fact.

21.    Mr Sim, as Diocesan Chancellor, had acted out of improper motivation in playing an advisory role in the decision to dismiss Dr White.

As for the complaint that Mr Sim’s role as Diocesan Chancellor had been portrayed inaccurately, TV3 noted that the Dean had publicly expressed his appreciation of Mr Sim’s assistance with regard to procedural matters relating to the dispute in a Cathedral newsletter, a copy of which it provided. TV3 considered its statement that he had closely advised the Dean on the dispute with Dr White had not been misleading or fundamentally inaccurate. It pointed out that the distinction between matters of employment and matters procedural was fine, and that both were legal issues. TV3 also noted that the programme had not been critical of the process followed. It concluded that all statements of fact could be justified and asserted that it was unable to find any inference of improper motivation.

In his affidavit, Mr Sim maintained that such an inference was there. He repeated that the programme implied that he was a significant advisor to the Dean on matters of substance relating to the dispute, and that he did so for improper motivation.

Mr Sim also complained that his role in advising the Diocese in relation to the employment dispute was inaccurately portrayed and that it was incorrect to imply that he had been a significant advisor to the Dean. He pointed out that, as Chancellor, he had a role in relation to the processes which were required to be followed under the Cathedral statute. However, he wrote, because of his former membership of the choir, he had made it clear to the Dean that he could not provide legal advice in relation to any employment matter involving Dr White. Independent solicitors were appointed at that time, he wrote, and he had no role in providing legal advice in relation to the warning or the subsequent dismissal process. His role, he advised, was to interpret the requirements of the Diocesan legislation. He complained that the programme was untruthful and grossly inaccurate in its account of this matter and was not justified in singling him out as being involved in the dismissal of Dr White.

He argued that a clear inference was given that he gave advice to the Dean in relation to the dismissal which significantly influenced the Dean’s actions, was improperly motivated, and saw a dismissal effected without lawful grounds. That, he said, was a direct attack on him, both personally and professionally.

Mr Sim also complained that it was unfair that he was not given an opportunity to explain or respond to matters relating to him on the programme. He reiterated that the dismissal process had been a lengthy and formal one and that both the Dean and Dr White had been independently legally advised.

Whether such an imputation exists is, the Authority concludes, a matter of fairness, which it deals with below.

22.    Robert Rothel influenced the Bishop in the appointment of the Dean.

The Diocese complained that the programme implied that the Bishop colluded with Mr Rothel in installing the Dean. It maintained that this was contrary to the selection process, which had involved very detailed work from a committee comprising senior Chapter members, Vestry representatives and people from the Diocese outside the Cathedral. A representative of that group advised that it was not approached by, or was ever in communication with Mr Rothel regarding the appointment.

Mr Fitchett, who was on the appointment committee, confirmed that no approach had been made to it by Mr Rothel.

The Authority is not convinced that such an imputation was present, although it acknowledges that it was said – by Dr White – that Mr Rothel was "desperate for Jonathan Kirkpatrick to become Dean", and that the Bishop had understood that it was the choir’s wish for him to be appointed. In the Authority’s opinion, Dr White’s description of Mr Rothel’s being "desperate" for the Dean to be appointed did not imply that he had influenced the Bishop in the appointment process. It therefore declines to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

23.    Robert Rothel was the frontrunner for the position of Director of Music.

TV3 denied that it had stated that Robert Rothel was frontrunner for the job of Assistant Director of Music. However it advised that information given to 20/20 indicated that Mr Rothel was a likely contender and argued that it was not unreasonable to indicate that likelihood. It referred to the transcript which stated that the Dean was close to making a temporary appointment. It said this was reinforced by the fact that Mr Rothel was, at the time of the broadcast, conducting the temporary choir.

In response, the Dean maintained that the voiceover and images of Mr Rothel supported the inference. He repeated that Mr Rothel was not qualified for any formal appointment and was not the frontrunner for anything. He complained that no attempt had been made by TV3 to check the reliability of information it had received.

Mr Rothel also objected to the suggestion that he was frontrunner for the job. He confirmed that he was not qualified for such an appointment.

TV3 in its final submission acknowledged that it was possible that "some of Dr White’s views and assumptions might not be correct in every way". It noted that it was Dr White’s belief that Mr Rothel was the frontrunner for the position of Choirmaster, a belief which it considered was entirely understandable in the circumstances. It submitted:

It would be quite wrong and dangerous if television programmes are criticised because views and assumptions expressed in programmes ultimately turn out to be incorrect.

It further submitted that expression of opinion did not amount to untruthful or inaccurate representation of fact.

The programme clearly implied that Mr Rothel had aspirations for the position, the Authority notes, not only in the script but also by the image of Mr Rothel which accompanied it. The statement was patently untrue. It was a detail which could have been checked readily by referring to either the Dean or Mr Rothel, both of whom TV3 had interviewed. TV3 failed to do so. The Authority was not assisted by TV3’s final response. Had the comment been attributed to Dr White as his belief, then it is possible it would have found no breach of standard G1 occurred. However, it was not so attributed. The inference was clear: Mr Rothel was a "frontrunner" to replace Dr White. The Authority upholds the complaint that standard G1 was breached.

24.    Robert Rothel had aspirations for priesthood.

TV3 denied that such an allegation was made. It pointed to the transcript which said: "He’s a divinity student, the word is the Bishop has told him he’ll never be ordained."

In her affidavit, the Bishop deposed that:

Mr Rothel has never sought selection for ordination from me, formally or informally. Nor have I expressed a view as to his suitability or otherwise for it.

Mr Rothel complained that there was a clear implication that he had been engaged in study intended to lead to ordination and that the Bishop was aware of that aspiration but had told him he would never be ordained. The facts presented were simply untrue, he contended. In his affidavit he swore that he had never raised the matter with the Bishop, and that she had no reason to believe that he wished to be ordained by her. Therefore, he wrote, he very much doubted if she would have expressed a view on that matter without an approach by him or at least without discussing it with him.

The Authority acknowledges Mr Rothel’s point that he had never sought the Bishop’s views on his ordination. However, it notes, it was reasonable to conclude that, as a divinity student, he could well have had aspirations for priesthood. The Authority concludes that the attribution of the remark ("word is") saves it from being a breach of standard G1. Nevertheless it questions TV3’s motives in advancing a potentially damaging opinion without attempting to check its veracity. It deals with this below under privacy.

25.    Robert Rothel was a "sexual predator".

TV3 pointed to the clear evidence shown in the programme in the form of comment from two men of what it called "inappropriate sexual advances" being made to them by Robert Rothel. It said it was satisfied the programme had sufficient information to justify describing Mr Rothel as a "sexual predator".

In his affidavit Mr Rothel swore that neither of the incidents described in the programme was truthfully reported by TV3. In the case of one of the two men, he advised that a consensual sexual encounter had occurred with him. Mr Rothel swore that the incident concerning the second man, whose identity was protected, was not as described on the programme. That person, Mr Rothel reported, was a "close associate" of Damian Peyroux and a member of a family dedicated in its support for Dr White. He contended there was obvious collusion between the two. In his view, the two incidents did not justify the label of "sexual predator", and furthermore, it was unfair that he had not been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations.

Other complainants argued that apart from the fact that the assertion was without basis, the New Zealand justice system operated on the principle that a person was innocent until proven guilty.

A complainant argued that the term "sexual predator" was totally unjustified because it contained an implication of serious random attacks perpetrated on victims who were being stalked by their attacker. Had that been the case, he suggested that the so-called victims should have gone to the police.

The Authority notes that the descriptor "sexual predator" was used without qualification, as if it were a proven fact about Mr Rothel. In its view, no such certainty was justified. First, it considers that the term "sexual predator" contains a connotation of sexually aggressive behaviour possibly bordering on criminality. The facts do not appear to support such a conclusion. Secondly, the Authority does not consider that a claim that Mr Rothel made "inappropriate sexual advances" toward two young men constitutes evidence of predatory sexual behaviour. In support of its conclusion on this point, the Authority turns to the field tapes of the interviews with the two men who allegedly had been victims of Mr Rothel’s predatory behaviour. It notes that Damian Peyroux reported that an incident had occurred when he had gone away for a weekend with Mr Rothel and another gay man for "a fun time". He claimed that Mr Rothel’s advances were unwelcome. Mr Rothel has sworn an affidavit to say that a consensual sexual encounter occurred. The Authority considers that Mr Rothel’s account as detailed in his affidavit is the more persuasive.

With respect to the other alleged victim, the anonymous man, the Authority advises that its review of the field tape of this interview strongly suggests that the man’s recollection of the alleged encounter lacked credibility. However, the Authority concludes, even had it accepted everything that was said in the interviews as fact, it does not believe those incidents justified the serious accusation that Mr Rothel was a sexual predator. It upholds the complaint that standard G1 was breached. It also deals with this matter under fairness below.

26.    The Dean had an improper relationship with Mr Rothel.

TV3 denied that there was any suggestion whatsoever in the programme of a non-professional relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel. It advised that any imputations to this effect were a matter for the Courts to determine in defamation proceedings properly brought. No such proceedings had begun. Furthermore, TV3 rejected the allegation that the imputation existed. It said it had correctly reported that Mr Rothel supported the appointment of the Dean to the Dunedin Diocese.

TV3’s reporter in his affidavit deposed that the information he had been given indicated that there was a close relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel and that they were known to lunch together and socialise together. In addition, he noted, Mr Rothel had official duties at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Dean maintained that the imputation about his relationship with Mr Rothel was clearly made, in part through the use of camera shots of them in the same frame, and in material such as the voice over, "Raymond White thinks he knows why."

The Dean argued that the major thrust of the programme had been that he had dismissed Dr White on groundless charges of sexual misconduct while at the same time harbouring and nurturing a sexual predator (Mr Rothel) and a paedophile (Canon Somers-Edgar). Furthermore, there was an imputation that he was in an inappropriate relationship with Mr Rothel. This, said the Dean, was not only false, but fanciful. He emphasised that he had no knowledge of any accusations concerning Mr Rothel which would have made action by him against Mr Rothel appropriate.

Mr Rothel also maintained that the imputation was clear that he had an improper relationship with the Dean. He declared that it was nonsense to suggest, as TV3 had done, that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the Authority. He argued that the fact that defamation proceedings could possibly be brought did not provide TV3 with a license to present any kind of imputation it wished, immune from the jurisdiction of the Authority. Mr Rothel refuted unequivocally the suggestion that any improper relationship existed between him and the Dean.

The Authority finds the imputation equivocal, and is therefore unable to conclude that as a matter of fact, it was made. At most, it considers it could be said that there was an implication that Mr Rothel was a favourite of the Dean’s. It is a matter to which it turns when it examines the complaint under standard G6 below.

27.    The reason for dismissing Dr White was to install Mr Rothel as Director of Music.

With respect to the suggestion that Mr Rothel was to be appointed Director of Music, TV3 pointed out that at the time of the broadcast Mr Rothel was conducting the choir and that the Dean had informed 20/20 that he was close to making a temporary appointment. According to information received by 20/20, Mr Rothel was a likely contender for the position and, TV3 argued, it was not unreasonable for the programme to indicate this likelihood.

The Dean responded that it was a ridiculous idea to suggest that Mr Rothel was to be appointed Director of Music and that neither he, nor anyone else would suggest that he was qualified for the post. The Dean indicated that while the suggestion was totally untrue, he knew that Dr White and his supporters had been alleging it for some time. The Diocese noted that Mr Rothel had been involved in a group known as the Cathedral Singers which filled in occasionally for the Cathedral Choir. Following the departure of the choir, the Cathedral Singers had taken a more active role. At the time of the programme no appointment to direct the group had been made, although Mr Rothel had taken some responsibility for conducting them in the interim. The Diocese emphasised that he had no formal music qualifications and was unable to play either the organ or the piano.

Mr Rothel advised that the Cathedral Singers had been without a conductor, and by default he had agreed to conduct temporarily. He emphasised that he had never been officially appointed to any position with the Cathedral Singers, and that the group "really scraped by from week to week". He noted that he certainly had no supervisory responsibility for anyone in the Singers, or as the Cathedral’s Head Server.

In the Authority’s view, the claim that Mr Rothel was to be appointed as Director of Music was a verifiable fact which should have been checked before broadcast. It acknowledges that the source of the information was Dr White, but considers that unless the comment was attributed directly to Dr White, TV3 had a duty to check its veracity. It did not do so and therefore breached standard G1.

The Authority is not convinced that there was a clear imputation that Dr White was dismissed in order to effect the appointment of Mr Rothel to the position of choirmaster. It returns to this matter below when it deals with the fairness and balance issues.

28.    The purpose of advertising the Director of Music’s position overseas was to facilitate the appointment of Mr Rothel by delaying or avoiding a permanent appointment.

TV3 noted that Mr Rothel was the temporary conductor of the Cathedral Singers, and that information had been given to 20/20 that he was a likely contender for the permanent position. Further, it continued, it had been told by the Dean that because the job had been advertised overseas, an appointment would not be made for some time, but that a temporary appointment would be made in the immediate future. TV3 noted that since the documentary had been broadcast there had been a controversy as to whether an appointment from overseas had been made. Recent Pew Notes had confirmed the appointment of an unnamed Director from the UK, but the Dean was reported to have said that was not the case.

In response, the Dean stated that it was incorrect to say that there was any controversy about the temporary appointment, and noted that it had been universally welcomed and recognised as a success. He reported that his reason for seeking a temporary overseas appointment was to have an independent and expert person with knowledge of the English Cathedral scene to guide the Diocese through "a difficult period." He had no intention to appoint Robert Rothel to any such position.

The Authority does not share the complainants’ view that viewers would have reached the conclusion contended. Where relevant, it deals with the points raised when it considers fairness and balance below.

29.    The Dean and others were aware of alleged behaviour of Mr Rothel but failed to act.

The reporter swore in his affidavit that during the part of the interview with the Dean which was not caught on camera, the Dean had made an "astonishing concession" about Mr Rothel’s character. It had been put to the Dean that in the course of its investigation, TV3 had identified serious concerns about Mr Rothel’s behaviour. TV3 described Mr Rothel as having a "deep involvement" in St Paul’s, whereas, it reported, the Dean tried to downplay Mr Rothel’s activities in the church, saying that he had no official role. Then, TV3 reported, the Dean made the "remarkable concession" that he would never put Mr Rothel in a position of trust because he knew that Mr Rothel was at times guilty of making inappropriate comments. The irony as far as TV3 was concerned was that this was the same Mr Rothel who the previous evening had been portrayed by the Dean as being the victim of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The Diocese argued that there was a clear inference in all of the detail concerning the relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel that the Dean and other members of the Cathedral hierarchy were aware of improper behaviour by Mr Rothel of the kind alleged. It said there was no evidence of improper behaviour which was known to the church. The Dean also advised that he had no knowledge of claims of serious misconduct by Mr Rothel.

The Authority does not agree that it was reasonable to assume that, based on the programme’s content, viewers would have reached a conclusion that the Dean was protecting Mr Rothel. If such an imputation was there, the Authority considers that it fell short of a breach of the accuracy standard.

Overall

The complainants contended that overall, as a programme purporting to be an investigation of Dr White’s dismissal, Sex, Lies and Videotape was untruthful and grossly inaccurate. It presented as fact matters which were untrue, omitted conflicting information where there was uncertainty as to truth, and was judgmental as to the truth of the allegations made in its form, presentation and expression.

In upholding the above breaches of standard G1, the Authority observes that this was, overall, a case of competing narratives. One was based on the account of Dr White and his supporters, and it was not tested against the other, that of the Cathedral’s officers. 

This is in part a case, then, of imbalance in the programme’s presentation, which will be considered under standard G6. Here, the Authority notes that the question of the programme’s overall inaccuracy is a complex one, as it does not rely on, for example, a single clear error of fact alone.

Standard G4 – dealing justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to in the programme

The complainants identified the following matters as demonstrating that the programme was deficient in treating people fairly.

1.    The Diocese complained that it was treated unfairly because no attempt was made to present its position on the issues raised.

TV3 acknowledged that it was correct that it did not obtain any views from the Diocese but, it argued, the programme was not about the Diocese but about the conduct of specific individuals who purported to preach a certain morality. Some of those individuals, it noted, were responsible for Dr White’s sacking. The conduct of Canon Somers-Edgar, it maintained, spoke for itself and needed no further comment from the Diocese. TV3 advised that it did not accept that because it had published those facts it had dealt with any of the individuals, or the Diocese, unfairly. It recorded that neither the Dean, Canon Somers-Edgar nor Mr Rothel presented any information which was contrary to the allegations made in the programme.

TV3 suggested that the tenor of the Dean’s complaint was that because he did not like the facts disclosed about those in the parish, they had not been treated fairly. TV3 pointed out that the Dean had had an opportunity to respond to questions.

It was fair to say, TV3 concluded, that measured against a "background of bigotry and hypocrisy" which existed at St Paul’s Cathedral, the allegation that Dr White was a sexual abuser or harasser had an irony about it.

The Diocese complained that the programme failed to report truthfully the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Dr White. It wrote:

Given the allegations against Dr White, the currency of employment disputes, and the "general smear" approach inherent in the title and the general references to Dr White’s innocence and "predatory homosexuals" and "lies", no person attacked in the programme could be said to be dealt with fairly.

Procedurally, the Diocese said that the Dean had been treated unjustly and unfairly in the way in which it had been alleged he was guilty of both sexual and professional impropriety, and by the breach of the agreements made between him and TV3 in relation to the filming in the Cathedral.

The Diocese argued that Canon Somers-Edgar and the Diocesan Chancellor had been treated unjustly and unfairly in having been presented in a negative light but not having been offered any opportunity for comment. The unauthorised filming in the Cathedral was also unfair to the Diocese, it contended. In addition, the Diocese argued that Mr Rothel had also been treated unfairly in relation to the unauthorised filming, and the lack of opportunity to respond to allegations made about his conduct. The Diocese asserted that even though he had declined to appear on camera, Mr Rothel had not relinquished his right to respond to allegations of this kind.

The Diocese described as fatuous TV3’s comment that none of those individuals had presented information to the contrary, particularly as they had been given no opportunity to respond and did not know what they were to respond to. Indeed, the Diocese noted, Canon Somers-Edgar had not been approached at all.

In addition, the Diocese contended that there had been unfair and unjust treatment of all those who had been presented as having been associated with an improperly motivated campaign against the choir and Dr White.

The Authority does not necessarily agree that it was essential for other officials of the Diocese to have had an opportunity to comment, since the Dean had been interviewed at length, was a capable advocate on the Diocese’s behalf and was commenting on matters relating to his duties there. However, it is apparent to the Authority from the field tapes that the Dean did not know what the programme’s theme was, having but a general idea that it was related to the dismissal of Dr White. The Authority advises that it has had recourse to the British Standards Commission’s Code on Fairness where, under the head of Dealing Fairly with Contributors, the following guideline appears:

           4.    Contributors should be dealt with fairly. Where they are invited to make a significant
                  contribution to a factual programme, they should:

(i)      be told what the programme is about;

(ii)     be given a clear explanation of why they were contacted by the
        programme;

(iii)    be told what kind of contribution they are expected to make – for 
        example by way of interview or as part of a discussion;

(iv)    be informed about the areas of questioning, and, wherever possible, the
        nature of other likely contributions;

(v)     be told whether their contribution is to be live or recorded; and, if
        recorded, whether it is likely to be edited;

(vi)    not be coached or pushed or improperly induced into saying anything
        which they know not to be true or do not believe to be true;

(vii)    whenever appropriate, be made aware of any significant changes to the
         programme as it develops which might reasonably affect their original
         consent to participate, and cause material unfairness; and

(viii)   if offered an opportunity to preview the programme, be given clear
         information about whether they will be able to effect any change in
         the programme.

The Authority considers guidelines (i), (ii), (iii), (iv) and (vii) are particularly apposite in this case.

The Authority notes that it is apparent that the Dean was not advised of the programme’s theme and in addition, a number of the allegations, particularly those relating to the conduct of Mr Rothel, Canon Somers-Edgar and Mr Sim – were not put to him. As those allegations concerned their conduct in relation to Diocesan matters, and they were not given the opportunity to comment themselves, the Authority considers that it was essential for the Dean to have been asked to respond. Bearing in mind the factual inaccuracies in the programme, the Authority concludes that it was also unfair that issues pertaining to the Diocese were not put to the Dean. It upholds this aspect of the complaint.

2.    Canon Somers-Edgar complained, as did other complainants, that it was unfair to use the videotape footage filmed at a private party some four years previously. That footage, it was contended, had no relevance to the central issue of the story which was the sacking of Dr White. Furthermore, it had been selectively edited and the comments broadcast were taken out of context.

TV3 maintained that the programme’s use of the videotape was a straightforward matter of fact and record. In its view, it highlighted the irony of the allegations against Dr White. It noted that the programme had made it clear that the videotape was taken at a 21st birthday party by members of a family involved in a dispute with the church who supported Dr White. TV3 concluded:

Given Canon Somers-Edgar’s prominent and public office, the use of the videotape was not only reasonable, TV3 considers it had a duty to publish it.

In his affidavit, the reporter stated that he considered the videotape to be pivotal to the story. He wrote:

In my opinion the story could not proceed without that am-cam. It was the one element which elevated the story above a mire of accusations and counter-accusations, exposing, as it did, the hypocrisy of the Anglican Diocese.

I remain of the view that this was the correct course to adopt. The videotape speaks entirely for itself.

I did not approach Canon Somers-Edgar then or later because I did not want to let him know that we had the am-cam video. I was convinced he would attempt to obtain an injunction.

In response to TV3, Canon Somers-Edgar submitted that it was ludicrous to suggest, as TV3 did, that he was a public figure or a prominent churchman. He argued that the public’s need to know had to outweigh the potential damage to a person’s reputation from disclosure.

He complained that it was grossly unfair and unjust to screen the excerpts from the video, particularly without any attempt having been made to obtain comment from him.

Canon Somers-Edgar stated that the programme had caused him inordinate damage. He rejected TV3’s assertion that it had a duty to publish the video.

Mr Stevenson, who said he was a guest at the party when the video footage was taken, noted that it was obvious that Canon Somers-Edgar was extremely intoxicated and that he had been hounded, provoked and goaded by the party’s hosts to make the comments he did. However those remarks appeared now, Mr Stevenson continued, they were not offensive at the time to the Peyroux family. On the contrary, he wrote, the goal of the goading was to make Canon Somers-Edgar criticise the Bishop for the amusement of the Peyroux family. He added that it was well known that attempts had been made since 1994 to blackmail Canon Somers-Edgar with the contents of the videotape.

Against that background, Mr Stevenson argued, the inclusion of the videotape served no public interest. He noted that Canon Somers-Edgar had been attending a private function as a private individual. Canon Somers-Edgar had thought he was among friends, Mr Stevenson continued, but they had misused him then, and had betrayed him since.

In its final submission, TV3 reported that the videotape spoke for itself and did not require any further comment. It argued that the extracts used were representative of Canon Somers-Edgar’s behaviour throughout the evening and that it was clear the comments were not made by someone who felt harassed or was unaware of being filmed. It contended that the offensive behaviour captured on tape was relevant to the inquiry into the behaviour of senior clergy at the Cathedral and the "hypocrisy" surrounding Dr White’s dismissal. It concluded that the inclusion of the videotape was not a salacious or irresponsible use of the material.

With respect to the decision not to approach Canon Somers-Edgar regarding the videotape, in light of the possibility of an injunction preventing the programme going to air, TV3 argued that this was a judgment call on its part. It was justified in its approach, it contended, as an injunction was a technique which could be used to prevent relevant material from being included in programmes. It referred to the Court of Appeal decision in TV3 Network Services Ltd v Fahey, Unreported, CA 276/98, 01/12/98 where TV3 had overturned Dr Fahey’s injunction and was able to broadcast footage which had not been disclosed to Dr Fahey.

Canon Somers-Edgar in his final comment on TV3’s submissions referred to the Fahey decision cited by TV3 as supporting its decision not to warn him that extracts from the videotape would be broadcast. He cited the final paragraph in that decision:

Our decision should not be seen as supporting any general proposition that the ends of news gathering justifies the means… . If information has been obtained in circumstances at least arguably unlawful that will be an important factor to weigh in the balancing exercise involved. Such unlawfulness may amount to an offence, or it may constitute a civil wrong. The more serious the breach, the stronger will be the case for a restraining use of any material obtained as a result. The Court will be careful to ensure that the rights of others are properly weighted, that the media is not simply provided with an incentive to engage and benefit from unlawful conduct whenever it claims it is acting in the exercise of freedom of expression.

He contended it was accordingly specious to assert the Courts would not have protected him and that it was therefore not necessary to give him the opportunity to seek an injunction.

The Authority does not agree with TV3’s view that the videotape was pivotal to the story. Canon Somers-Edgar had relayed to the Bishop complaints about Dr White’s inappropriate sexual behaviour towards young men of the choir. He cited incidents which had occurred in 1993 and 1996 and which had been reported to him by the young men who were apparently the subject of Dr White’s attentions. Subsequently Dr White was dismissed. However, the Authority notes, those incidents were not relied upon in the decision to dismiss Dr White except insofar as they provided evidence that he had a history of discord with his employers relating to allegations of inappropriate conduct. The actual reasons were cited in the dismissal letter and included other matters which had caused a breakdown in the employment relationship. By no measure could it be said that Canon Somers-Edgar had a role in the dismissal. The tenuous connection, the Authority finds, is that the videotape supported TV3’s thesis that the Diocese harboured officials who were guilty of aberrant behaviour.

Next the Authority examines the manner in which the videotape was edited. Having had the advantage of viewing the entire videotape, the Authority concludes that its editing was manifestly unfair to Canon Somers-Edgar. The edited extracts failed to convey the fact that Canon Somers-Edgar was relentlessly hounded throughout the evening to make provocative comments about the Bishop and other clergy, and that he had frequently protested about his being filmed and pursued. The extracts also failed to convey adequately that the remarks were made in a social family setting, and how they were received by the Canon’s young friends and other party guests, many of whom were adults of mature years.

The Authority questions the motives of TV3 in including extracts from a videotape filmed at a private party some four years previously, and its linking of the footage to the dismissal of Dr White.

It is of concern to the Authority that the reporter decided not to reveal that he had a copy of the video or that he intended to use it in the programme, and in particular, that he decided he could not approach Canon Somers-Edgar for comment. This decision had serious implications with regard to fairness. It is, the Authority finds, inherently unfair that the subject of the videotape should be denied the opportunity to comment on his behaviour. He was subjected to the humiliation of appearing intoxicated on a national television programme uttering outrageous remarks which had been carefully selected by TV3 to ensure that maximum harm was caused to him and his reputation. There was, the Authority finds, no justification for singling him out for such opprobrium. It can only conclude that TV3 decided to broadcast that footage because it had a copy of the tape and wished to expose Canon Somers-Edgar – and because it found publication of the tape’s salacious content was irresistible. The Authority notes that there was a passing acknowledgment in the broadcast acknowledging that the Canon had been "hounded". However that remark did not fully convey the circumstances of the filming or of his resistance to the idea of being filmed. Consequently, it considers, he was treated unfairly.

The Authority concludes that TV3 had no duty to publish the material and upholds the complaint that the use of the videotape footage was unfair to Canon Somers-Edgar. It also concludes that the Fahey decision cited by TV3 does not justify its approach. It returns to this matter below when it considers Canon Somers-Edgar’s privacy complaint.

3.    The videotape contained an imputation that Canon Somers-Edgar was a paedophile.

TV3 argued that the video spoke for itself. Here, the vicar who had been instrumental in investigating and documenting the allegations of sexual harassment against Dr White in 1996 had been drunkenly boasting "I’m good in bed – so all those 6 year old children say."

In his affidavit, the reporter declared that he did not necessarily accept the statement at face value. Paedophiles, he wrote, were mostly secretive by nature. However, he continued, even allowing for the fact that Canon Somers-Edgar made this comment for shock value, in his view it demonstrated "an alarming double standard" in the light of the fact that Dr White had been sacked for "inappropriate behaviour".

Canon Somers-Edgar complained that the videotape had been edited to isolate his most improper remarks, take them out of context and put a dishonest spin on them, implying that he was a homosexual paedophile. He maintained that he should have had an opportunity to comment on those imputations.

Noting the reporter’s acknowledgment that he did not necessarily accept the statement relating to sex with children at face value, Canon Somers-Edgar pointed out that nevertheless the excerpt had been presented in such a way that it implied unequivocally that he was a paedophile. "This," he wrote, "is more than hypocrisy on [the reporter’s] part; it is malice."

It is apparent to the Authority that TV3 accepts that such an imputation existed, even though the reporter in his affidavit stated that he had reservations as to whether Canon Somers-Edgar was in fact a paedophile. For its part, the Authority concludes that such an inference could be drawn, and that being so, it was unfair that the matter was not put to Canon Somers-Edgar himself for comment. Such a serious inference – even if it was ambiguous – required a response. The Authority concludes that TV3’s failure to put the matter to Canon Somers-Edgar constituted a breach of standard G4.

4.    Robert Rothel complained, as did other complainants, that the description of him as a "sexual predator" was unfair and unjustified.

TV3 responded that this was a statement of fact and did not require any further response or qualification. It noted that two sources had confirmed that they each been separately sexually "interfered with" by Mr Rothel. It said it was satisfied it had sufficient information to justify the comment.

The Dean argued that the description of Mr Rothel as a sexual predator was not a statement of fact, but of opinion, and was not supported by the material in the programme.

The Authority has dealt with this point above in its findings under standard G1. In relation to the fairness aspect, it concludes that the description of Mr Rothel as a sexual predator was unfair, particularly as it finds the evidence upon which it was based – the allegations made by Damian Peyroux and the anonymous man – does not support such a description. Furthermore, the matter was not put to Mr Rothel for comment. Accordingly the Authority upholds this aspect of the complaint.

5.    Mr Rothel complained that the filming of him without his knowledge or permission and in breach of an express undertaking that he not be identified was unfair.

TV3’s reporter in his affidavit acknowledged that he had been "walking a difficult ethical tightrope" with respect to the undertaking given to Robert Rothel not to identify him. Discussing the off the record interview he had with Mr Rothel, the reporter wrote:

I ultimately decided what he said was nonsense and was not prepared to continue the undertaking I had given him.

TV3 pointed out that Mr Rothel had declined to be interviewed on camera when told that allegations had been made about his conduct.

The secret filming, the reporter argued, was therefore justified on the basis that "damning evidence" about Mr Rothel’s behaviour had come forward, yet he had been nominated by the Dean as a person who had been subjected to unwelcome attention from Dr White. TV3 argued that the filming of Mr Rothel had been in a public place and therefore no privacy considerations applied. In other correspondence, TV3 advised that its staff had not given any undertaking or made any agreement with anyone that Mr Rothel would not be identified. In view of the allegations about his conduct, it argued it could not possibly have agreed to such a course.

Mr Rothel said he had made it clear to TV3 that he did not wish to appear on camera and gave his reasons for not appearing, namely the fear of reaction against him in the small community of Dunedin. He had also specifically sought TV3’s assurance that he would not be identified by name in the programme. He said it was his understanding that his request for anonymity had been agreed to. However, he emphasised, his refusal to appear on camera did not mean that he was unwilling to respond to the allegations. TV3 had simply refused to give him any detail of the allegations against him once he had confirmed that he was not willing to be filmed, he noted, and had argued that the seriousness of the matters meant that it would not agree to disclose them other than on camera. It had said that it was vital to obtain an accurate record of his response to each allegation, but only if he were on camera. Mr Rothel declared that it defied logic for TV3 on the one hand to recognise that it was vital that an accurate record of the responses be obtained, but then proceed to air without obtaining any response. His submission continued:

The merit in putting the allegations fairly to Mr Rothel, which TV3 chose to ignore, is that fairness would have been done to him, and that part of TV3’s investigation at least could have attained some credibility. Instead TV3 have presumably decided to run the risk that Mr Rothel’s unwillingness to appear on camera was based on the truth of the allegations, and that it would be immune from attack on that basis. Having run that risk it must now face the consequences of that, and the harm it has done Mr Rothel.

TV3 maintained that its reporters dealt with Mr Rothel fairly and conducted themselves reasonably and according to ordinary standards of investigative journalism. TV3 submitted that it was entirely reasonable that the reporter had not divulged the questions beforehand. That would have given Mr Rothel the opportunity to "prep" for the interview, it argued.

TV3, the Authority observes, found itself in a problematic situation with Mr Rothel when its view of his relevance to the story changed. It appears that Mr Rothel was given an undertaking – when he was seen as an informant – that his identity would be protected. This was acknowledged in a subsequent interview with the Dean. However, the fact that Mr Rothel was filmed without his knowledge leaving the interview given to TV3 suggests that even as that assurance was given, TV3 anticipated that his role might change.

The Authority has noted the dismissive way the reporter dealt with abandoning the assurance when it was decided that Mr Rothel would be more central to the story than was first envisaged. Mr Rothel was not advised of his changed status. In the Authority’s view had he been so informed, that may well have affected the approach he took in his later dealings with TV3. Thus he was at a disadvantage which he did not know about when he was asked to comment on serious allegations made against him. Clearly Mr Rothel’s reaction might well have been quite different had he known that those allegations would be aired against him on national television.

The reporter – according to Mr Rothel – described the allegations to him as serious. However, he told Mr Rothel, he would not disclose their nature unless Mr Rothel was prepared to respond on camera, thereby foregoing his anonymity.

The Authority observes here that the fact that the reporter acknowledged the accusations as serious was a clear sign that TV3 should have been aware of the importance of both gaining a reaction to them, and of giving Mr Rothel the chance to give his version of events, whether that was recorded on film or not.

Mr Rothel – again by his account – replied that he was not surprised that allegations were made, given the culture of the choir. When he declined to appear on camera, the reporter told him that would be their last conversation.

In view of the seriousness of the allegations, the Authority considers it was essential that they were put to Mr Rothel directly, and unfair that they were not. It does not accept TV3’s contention that they could only be put to him on camera. Indeed, the Authority notes in the reporter’s affidavit his admission that he had been advised by the programme’s executive producer to "put the allegations against Mr Rothel to him by telephone and offer him the chance to respond on camera." However, it notes, the reporter elected not to follow that advice. He swore in his affidavit:

I did not tell him exactly what the allegations were or by whom they were made. I wanted his reaction to the specific allegations "on camera". I held out for an on camera interview about those particular allegations. He would not give it.

By imposing such an unreasonable condition on Mr Rothel’s ability to react, the Authority concludes that TV3 effectively denied him the opportunity to make a response, with the result that it was unfair and in breach of standard G4.

6.    The secret filming in the Cathedral was unfair and contrary to the agreement made with the Dean.

TV3 maintained that no restrictions had been placed on its filming of the evening service. Furthermore, it argued, it would have been obvious to those being filmed that the camera was focussing on them, yet no one raised any objection at the time or subsequently.

Mr Rothel and Mr Sim deposed that the Dean had advised them and others before the service that he had made an agreement with TV3 that none of the parishioners was to be filmed in the Cathedral so as to be identifiable. Clearly, that agreement had been breached, they argued. To TV3’s assertion that the conditions imposed by the Dean applied only to the filming of the morning service, Mr Rothel countered that that flew in the face of logic. He contended that, in the absence of other agreement, any agreement in relation to filming in the morning must be regarded as applying equally in the evening. In any event, Mr Rothel continued, he was filmed at both services, and footage from both services was screened. On TV3’s own admission, it had breached the agreement in relation to the morning service, he concluded.

TV3 and the Dean have conflicting interpretations of the nature of the agreement reached on filming in the Cathedral, the Authority notes. It is unable to reconcile the two views and finds it conceivable that there was a misunderstanding as to the terms of the arrangement to film there. It notes that the Dean is adamant that the filming was to be confined to general shots of the Cathedral and of him alone, whereas TV3 contends that he gave permission to film throughout the evening service without restriction. On the basis that some ambiguity exists as to the exact terms of the agreement, the Authority makes no decision on this point. It turns to the use of the footage so collected when it deals with the individual privacy complaints below.

7.    Mr Rothel complained that it was unfair that one of those accusing him of impropriety had his identity concealed.

TV3 argued that it was obvious, given the sensitivity of the comments, that the person should elect not to be identified.

Mr Rothel said that he was aware of the identity of the anonymous man, who was a member of a family of vehement supporters of Dr White. He admitted that on one occasion he had shared a double water bed with the man, who was aged sixteen at the time. In his affidavit, Mr Rothel denied that any contact took place and in particular that any sexual contact occurred. He described the man’s allegations as not credible.

The Authority declines to uphold this aspect of the complaint. Given the sensitive nature of the man’s account, and his obvious extreme embarrassment, it considers it was not unreasonable to give him anonymity.

8.    Mr Rothel complained that it was unfair that he had not been given an opportunity to respond to matters concerning him on the programme.

TV3 argued that as Mr Rothel had refused to be interviewed, it was justified in publishing the allegations made by Mr Peyroux. The disclosure, it maintained, was in the interests of the public. It argued that it was not necessary for it to obtain a response to every statement of fact. In addition, it noted, the Dean was in a position to answer questions about Mr Rothel when he was interviewed, but had refused to discuss the meeting he had arranged between Mr Rothel and TV3.

Mr Rothel denied that he had been unilaterally unwilling to be interviewed by TV3. He noted that TV3 had refused to detail the allegations against him once he advised he was unwilling to appear on camera. He was not given an opportunity to put a response in any other way, he wrote. He argued that his unwillingness to appear on camera did not mean that he should be denied a right of response. Mr Rothel emphasised that his reasons for declining to be filmed had been made clear to TV3, namely the fear of reaction against him in the small community of Dunedin.

Mr Rothel rejected TV3’s argument that its approach was justified given the seriousness of the allegations. On the contrary, he argued, that was a reason to ensure they were handled with fairness.

Other complainants echoed those views, arguing that TV3 had an obligation to allow Mr Rothel a fair right of reply.

Serious allegations had been made about Mr Rothel’s conduct, the Authority notes, and TV3 had a duty to put them to him for comment. It reiterates Mr Rothel’s argument that his unwillingness to appear on camera should not have precluded him from the right to respond. In its view, it was not a prerequisite that he appear on camera when the allegations were put to him, but merely a preference of the programme makers. Mr Rothel had already indicated his willingness to speak off camera, and TV3 took a risk when it insisted that the questions could be answered only on its terms. In reaching its conclusion that TV3’s behaviour was unfair, the Authority notes (as reported above) that the reporter had stated in his affidavit that he had been advised by the person at TV3 with overall responsibility for the programme to "put the allegations against Mr Rothel [to him] by telephone and offer him the chance to respond on camera". For whatever reason, the reporter ignored that advice and "held out for an on-camera interview." By doing so he had effectively denied Mr Rothel an opportunity to comment. The Authority upholds this aspect of the complaint.

9.    Mr Rothel complained that the reporters breached their undertaking that he would not be identified in the programme.

TV3 responded that its staff had not given an undertaking or made an agreement with Mr Rothel that he would not be identified. In view of the allegations about his sexual misconduct, it argued that it could never have agreed to such a course. In its view, Mr Rothel was one of the central figures in identifying the apparent hypocrisy of the Dean’s allegation that Dr White sexually harassed choirboys.

The reporter in his affidavit deposed that the undertaking he had given Mr Rothel was that he could speak informally and off the record. No other undertaking was given, he said. He reported that he had sought Mr Rothel’s permission to interview him on camera, but he declined. His affidavit records:

I again confirmed what he told us in the motel room was off the record. I ultimately decided what he said was nonsense and was not prepared to continue the undertaking I had given him. It was a difficult decision to make but later became highly relevant.

Mr Rothel responded that he had been reassured that in agreeing to speak to TV3, he would not be identified. He had specifically sought anonymity he said, because of fear of reprisals in the Dunedin community.

The Authority concludes that Mr Rothel was not dealt with fairly by TV3. He had sought anonymity in relation to his giving evidence about Dr White’s behaviour, and was unaware that he himself was the subject of allegations of improper conduct which TV3 intended to publish. Not only was he identified in the context of those allegations but further, he had no opportunity to respond. The Authority notes the reporter’s admission that there had been an undertaking as to Mr Rothel’s anonymity which he cast aside without advising Mr Rothel that he was doing so. In the Authority’s view this decision by the reporter compounds the breach.

10.    The Dean complained that the reference to him in relation to Dr White’s dismissal as "judge, jury and executioner" was unfair, particularly as he was only following normal legal procedure.

TV3 responded that in effect, the Dean was the judge, jury and executioner and the expression was appropriately used in this instance because he had the ability to investigate, try and dismiss Dr White.

The Dean reiterated that both he and Dr White had been independently legally advised during the period leading up to the dismissal and that when it was clear that the issues could not be resolved through a process of mediation, the Dean had concluded that the employment relationship had irretrievably broken down. At that point, he advised, he had sought the consent of the Chapter, as required under the Cathedral’s statutes, to dismiss Dr White. The Chapter consented to that decision.

As noted above, in the Authority’s view this was Dr White’s opinion, and was correctly attributed to him. Although it may not have fairly reflected the process which occurred, the Authority concludes that recounting his perspective did not amount to a breach of the standard.

11.    The breach of the undertaking not to film parishioners at worship was unfair and unethical. The Dean advised that an express undertaking had been given that only he would be filmed at the service.

TV3 denied that filming inside the Cathedral was subject to the condition that only the Dean could be filmed. TV3 argued that it would have been obvious to the Dean, to other officials and the congregation, that the choir and other church officials were being filmed. No complaints were received between the time of the filming and the broadcast, it observed, and none was made at the time of the broadcast.

The reporter swore in his affidavit that the agreement to filming was subject to two conditions: that TV3 not film parishioners, and that the camera not be intrusive. He asked the Dean if the crew could roam more at the evening service and the Dean replied that that would be fine. The reporter wrote:

To subsequently say that I agreed to focus exclusively on him and that the agreed terms were breached by our filming of Mr Rothel, Diccon Sim and Canon Somers-Edgar is quite incorrect. The agreement was to keep the camera to two fixed positions at the rear of the cathedral during the 10am service, and to restrict filming to the altar and the pulpit. No restrictions were made for the evening song (sic).

The Dean recalled the matter differently. In his affidavit he swore:

I specifically obtained the agreement of TV3 that other persons engaged in worship would not be identifiable in any filming. An earlier TV media visit to the Cathedral had made plain to me the unhappiness of people having their church participation filmed. My terms clearly included other clergy and those worshipping as part of the choir. Prior to the evening service, I made an announcement to a number of the Cathedral singers to this effect.

Mr Sim recorded that the Dean had advised choir members of the terms on which filming would take place. It was on that basis, Mr Sim continued, that he was willing to attend the service. He said that despite a general awareness of the TV3 crew in the Cathedral, he was unaware of what aspects were being filmed, and unaware that he was the subject of any footage.

For reasons explained above the Authority is of the view that there was sufficient ambiguity as to the extent of the understanding that it is not satisfied that a breach of standard G4 occurred in relation to the filming in the Cathedral. It notes that parishioners other than choir members and others holding office in the church were not filmed.

12.    The Dean’s comment about the Samoan boys was not reported objectively or fairly.

TV3 maintained that in correspondence from the Dean to Dr White it was clearly stated that Dr White’s referral of the Samoan boys comments to the church warden had been a key factor in Dr White’s dismissal.

The Diocese contended that the editing of the interview with the Dean sought to establish a denial by the Dean that the incident even occurred. In fact, it argued, the major issue in dispute was whether the comments could be heard by the boys of the choir. The Dean denied that he made the comments in front of the boys and the Diocese argued there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.

The Diocese also pointed out that TV3 had made no reference to the reasons why the matter had been referred to Dr White, or why he had told the churchwarden, who happened to be involved in the disciplinary process between the Dean and Dr White.

The Dean argued that Dr White’s telling of the "Samoan boys" tale was a deliberate attempt to undermine a disciplinary process involving mediation which was already under way. Both the timing and the contents of Dr White’s remarks were intended to weaken his relationship with the church warden, he maintained.

The Dean in his affidavit categorically denied that he made remarks of sexual innuendo which might have been overheard by anyone, let alone choir boys. He emphasised that the exchange was a conversation between two gay men. He accepted that his facial expression may have said more than his words, but said he did not recall saying anything more.

The Authority notes that the programme omitted to explain the context in which Dr White had reported to the churchwarden that the Dean had made an indiscreet comment about Samoan boys. It regards that context as significant in that it reflects on Dr White’s motives for making the report. According to the churchwarden’s affidavit, the clear intent of the report – and its timing – was to influence his attitude towards the Dean in the context of the ongoing employment process. In his opinion, Dr White’s demeanour and language made it plain that he had not raised the matters in good faith. In addition, the programme omitted a reference to the tandem allegation – also reported by Dr White to the churchwarden – that the Dean was living with a male prostitute. The reason for that omission was, the Diocese suggested, because it would have discredited Dr White. The Authority finds some merit in that conclusion.

As for the substance of the reported comments, the Authority considers that it was fair for the matter to be reported, but questions the fairness of the juxtaposition of the Dean’s and Ian Stewart’s edited comments because they could have created an adverse and inaccurate impression about the Dean. From the field tapes it is clear that Ian Stewart, to whom the comments were made, was led to believe that the Dean had denied making them at all. It is in response to that suggestion that Mr Stewart remarked that he was content to wait for judgment day to see who was lying and who was not. In fact, as the field tapes reveal, the Dean did not deny that he had made the comment about Samoan boys. The area of contention relating to the report, as is apparent from the field tapes, was whether or not the remarks had been audible to the choir boys. This the Dean denied.

The Authority upholds the complaint that the reporting of the "Samoan boys" comment was a breach of standard G4 because it conveyed an unfair imputation about the Dean’s account, and omitted to mention the context in which Dr White had reported the matter to the churchwarden. It also deals with this matter under standard G19 below.

13.    The programme misrepresented the reasons why the Dean terminated the interview, and implied that there was an improper relationship between him and Mr Rothel.

In his affidavit, the reporter noted that he had not disclosed Mr Rothel’s name until after the Dean had stood up to terminate the interview. TV3 denied that the programme contained any imputations concerning a relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel. It suggested that there were remedies in defamation about any imputations which were claimed to have arisen.

The Dean contended that the misuse of that footage to suggest that he had personal reasons for not discussing Mr Rothel was malicious. The Diocese also contended that both the editing, and the reporter’s "gratuitous comment" when he asked the Dean why he was so "nervous" about Robert Rothel, were intended to support the impression that the Dean had a guilty secret to hide about himself and Mr Rothel. However, the Diocese continued, as the reporters well knew, the reason for the Dean’s terminating the interview was that Mr Rothel had asked for his identity to be protected, and the Dean had only walked out when Mr Rothel’s name had been mentioned.

In its final comment, TV3 maintained that it could not reasonably be argued that the programme had alleged that Mr Rothel was the Dean’s lover.

Again the Authority has had recourse to the unedited field tapes of the interview with the Dean, its termination and the aftermath, and the resumption of the interview some minutes later. It reaches the conclusion that the interview was edited for the programme in such a way as to give the impression that the Dean had something to hide when the subject of Mr Rothel was raised by the reporter. In fact, as the field tapes make clear, the Dean had already advised the reporter that he was aware that Mr Rothel had sought to protect his identity, and he did not wish to betray his confidence by discussing matters which could possibly identify him. It was for that reason that, when the subject of Mr Rothel was raised, the Dean walked out of the interview. The Authority also notes that the broadcast was edited to omit part of the exchange between the reporter and the Dean regarding the mention of Mr Rothel, thus creating an impression that the Dean had overreacted when the subject was raised.

The Authority concludes that an impression was created which was unfair to the Dean and, given the facts revealed in the unedited version of the tape, was not warranted. Although it was not a major matter, it was another thread in the story, the cumulative effect of which was to colour viewers’ perceptions about the Dean’s conduct and management of Cathedral matters. It also left open the possibility that there was an ambiguous relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel which the Dean was anxious not to disclose. The Authority upholds this aspect of the complaint.

14.    Mr Sim complained that it was incorrect and unfair to imply that he had a role in the disciplinary process against Dr White.

TV3 responded that the programme simply stated that he had advised the Dean on matters relating to Dr White and that he had fallen out with Dr White when he would not appoint him Assistant Choirmaster. It concluded it was reasonable to assume he had assisted the Dean in the disciplinary process relating to Dr White, as a specific acknowledgment had been made to that effect in the Dean’s Annual Report to the Chapter.

Mr Sim denied that he was a significant advisor to the Dean on the matters of substance in the employment dispute. He reported that both in relation to the 1996 warning and in relation to Dr White’s dismissal he had played no role as legal advisor in relation to the employment matters. He acknowledged that the Dean did consult him in relation to his role under the Cathedral statute, as he was required not only to comply with the general law of employment, but also to satisfy the requirements of the Diocesan legislation which it was the role of the Chancellor to interpret. Mr Sim emphasised that his role was limited to that matter, and that the Dean was independently advised with respect to the employment matters.

Mr Sim concluded that there was nothing in his role as Chancellor or in the Dean’s comments made at the Annual Meeting which justified singling him out as being involved in the dismissal.

As Chancellor of the Diocese, the Authority considers that it was relevant that Mr Sim was identified as having a role in the disciplinary process, insofar as it is acknowledged that he advised the Dean on procedural matters relating to the interpretation of Diocesan legislation. It notes that he was identified in the programme as a "background player" and considers the reference to the extent of his involvement was sufficiently ambiguous that no breach of standard G4 occurred.

15.    Mr Sim complained that the programme implied that his involvement in the disciplinary process was driven by an improper motive, namely that he had wished to be appointed Assistant Choirmaster.

TV3 responded that on a careful review of the programme it had been unable to find any particular reference to the process by which Dr White was dismissed, aside from Dr White’s reference to the Dean’s role, and the Dean’s statement that the process was clearly defined by Church statutes. Thus, TV3 argued, there could be no association with an improperly motivated campaign. It also added that the programme clearly stated that Mr Sim was a background player.

Mr Sim stated that there was no truth in the claim that he was ever a candidate for the position of Assistant Choirmaster, or that he ever sought such a position. To begin with, he noted, at no time was the position ever vacant and furthermore, he did not have the requisite skills and qualifications to have undertaken the role. He reported that he had never had a conversation with Dr White about being appointed to the position, and had never aspired to hold such a position. A number of other complainants echoed Mr Sim’s account of this matter.

The Authority is aware that Dr White was the source of TV3’s information that Mr Sim wished to be appointed Assistant Choirmaster. That TV3 was willing to accept this as fact without attempting to corroborate the information was, the Authority finds, patently unfair to Mr Sim. He and other complainants have made it clear that not only had he no aspirations for the position, but he had no formal qualifications in music and would not have had the skills required to perform the job. The Authority concludes that TV3 erred in not checking with another source the veracity of that information, which was readily capable of being checked. The Authority concludes that the implication of self-interest against Mr Sim was patently unfair, and upholds this aspect of the complaint. It also considers that the programme sought to implicate him as a participant in an inappropriately motivated campaign, and in this respect it was unfair.

16.    Mr Sim complained that he was not dealt with fairly because he was not offered any opportunity to explain or respond to matters relating to him in the programme.

TV3 responded that the information about Mr Sim in the programme was factual. It added that it was not essential that every person referred to in relation to matters of fact should have an automatic right to express an opinion in the programme. It also noted that there was but a brief reference to Mr Sim in the item, and that he was referred to as a "background player".

Mr Sim submitted that the effective nature of the allegations against him in the programme meant that fairness dictated that he should have an opportunity to respond and to provide a proper explanation of what took place. He reiterated his view that the programme implied he had acted with improper motivation in the dismissal process.

Although Mr Sim was a minor player in the programme, the Authority considers that it was materially unfair that he was referred to without his knowledge and without TV3 having checked the facts it reported about him either with him or with an independent source, such as the Dean. In the Authority’s view, it is fundamental to the concept of fairness that facts which are not attributed to a source are independently verified. In the result, TV3 misrepresented Mr Sim’s role in the disciplinary process and his position in the choir in a manner which breached standard G4.

17.    The Dean complained that an off the record conversation he had had with the reporter had been misrepresented by TV3.

TV3 asserted that the Dean had told its reporter off the record that the "fundamental reason" for Dr White’s dismissal had been the charge of sexual harassment. In its view, that was an important admission.

The Dean complained that TV3’s version of the "off the record" concession by him was untrue. He said it was true that a charge of sexual harassment was on Dr White’s employment record and that the whole of his employment record formed the background to the most recent breakdown in the relationship. However, he said, TV3’s attempted reliance on his comment to say that the reason for dismissal was related to sexual misconduct conflicted with the reasons given in Dr White’s dismissal letter, which TV3 had seen. It also conflicted with two other reasons given in the programme – the "slow walking", and "dobbing in the Dean" in relation to the "Samoan boys" comment. The Dean complained that it was a version of events which had never been put to him in a question and was in direct conflict with the actual account he gave both on and off camera.

The Dean acknowledged that in the context of Dr White’s employment record, the incidents of sexual harassment were indeed fundamental, in that they served as the groundwork for the later breakdown in the employment relationship. However, he continued, it was not correct for TV3 to imply that Dr White’s dismissal related entirely to sexual misconduct.

The Authority notes that it was not directly stated in the programme that the "fundamental reason" for Dr White’s dismissal was that he had been accused of sexual harassment, but it finds that this was an inference which could reasonably be drawn. However, it is of the view that that belief was basic to the programme’s theme that double standards existed, and that it was "ironic" that Dr White had been sacked for behaviour which the Diocese appeared to condone in others within its hierarchy. It concludes that this was unfair to the Dean because there was other material which seems to have been ignored, and which made it plain that was not the position. The Authority upholds this aspect of the complaint under standard G4.

18.    It was unfair to broadcast the story when the Bishop was out of the country and unfair that she was not interviewed for the story.

TV3 responded that the programme had presented factual information about the Bishop. It argued that it was not required that every person referred to in relation to matters of fact should have an automatic right to express an opinion within the programme. It maintained that the fact that the Bishop was out of the country at the time was entirely coincidental and of no relevance.

Mr Greet suggested that as some of the story appeared to have been recorded prior to the Bishop’s departure, it was astonishing that she had not been interviewed. In his view it was no coincidence that the broadcast occurred while she was out of the country.

The Authority has no view on whether it was coincidental or intentional on TV3’s part that the Bishop was overseas at the time of the broadcast. However it considers the Dean was in a position to speak on behalf of the Diocese and the Bishop, and concludes that no breach of the standard occurred.

19.    It was unfair that TV3 discounted the reports of three young men who told of inappropriate behaviour on the part of Dr White, yet accepted the reports of two others, one of whom was anonymous, without putting the allegations to the alleged abuser.

TV3 responded that it had interviewed the three people whom the Dean alleged would support allegations of serious sexual misconduct by Dr White. According to TV3, not one of the three had made an allegation of the seriousness alleged by the Dean. TV3’s reporter in his affidavit described the allegations as "so trivial as to be inconsequential". In his view, two possible explanations emerged: either that the incidents had been unduly magnified in the minds of the young men due to the innuendo and speculation surrounding Dr White, or they had been prompted by someone to speak out to 20/20. TV3 advised that its reporter and producer could not believe the conduct alleged was apparently the foundation for the allegations of sexual abuse/harassment against Dr White.

The Diocese and other complainants traversed the issues surrounding the warning to Dr White after the 1993 incident with the two young men in Christchurch, and the later incident in 1996. It was pointed out that the young men had refused to commit their complaints to writing because they feared that Dr White would be disciplined as a result. However, the complainants argued, that did not mean that the incidents did not occur as reported.

Canon Somers-Edgar referred to the reporter’s affidavit where he had described his finding that Dominique Peyroux had been "quite shifty on the events in the motel", that he did not trust him and had a problem with his credibility, and that he had formed the view that "White might well have done something to Dominique which was now being down-played." Canon Somers-Edgar also pointed to Dominque Peyroux’s affidavit where he acknowledged that he thought Dr White had attempted to kiss him. However, he noted, no element of the reporter’s doubts, or of Dominique’s acknowledgment of harassment had come through in the programme.

With respect to the incidents involving Mr Rothel, it was unfair not to put the allegations to Mr Rothel himself, the complainants argued. In particular, scepticism was expressed about the credibility of the anonymous man’s account of being sexually approached by Mr Rothel.

Turning first to the complaint that it was unfair that TV3 had discounted the claims of three men identified by the Dean as being able to substantiate reports of improper behaviour on Dr White’s part, the Authority concludes that no breach occurred. It recognises that the broadcaster has the right to use its editorial discretion as to what information it evaluates as relevant. Apparently it doubted the credibility of the three alleged victims, and elected not to publish their claims. That is the broadcaster’s prerogative.

However, with respect to the allegations concerning Mr Rothel, the Authority finds that standard G4 was transgressed because the matter was not put to him for comment.

The Authority sought, and was provided with, the field tape footage of the interview with the anonymous man. It provided a copy to Mr Rothel and to the Diocese for comment. Both complainants challenged the credibility of the anonymous man’s account of the alleged assault. Mr Rothel’s submission concluded:

…the tape suggests that the witness lacked any credibility as he had no independent recollection of the alleged events, needed a written prompt to recall the detail of his story, and where this failed, was prompted by the interviewer.

The Diocese submitted that the interview was very revealing, and also noted that the man had been prompted and coached by the interviewer. Further, it contended, the man’s story as broadcast was inherently implausible, a view which was reinforced having seen the manner in which the interview had been conducted.

In response to these submissions, TV3 provided an affidavit sworn by the programme’s producer. He expressed concerns about the "misconceived assumptions and inaccurate conclusions" drawn about the interview which he concluded had been made in ignorance of the background to the interview and without industry experience in viewing field tapes. First, he outlined the circumstances under which the interview was conducted, explaining that the interviewee had been in a studio in Dunedin, while he, as interviewer, had been in Christchurch. Then he explained that the questions had been relayed to the interviewee through an earpiece, which accounted for the absence of the interviewer’s questions in the interview. In his view, the hesitancy of the man was entirely consistent with the stress he was under in recounting the incident, and the artificial situation created by the fact that the interviewer was not in the same room. He also advised that the man’s identity had been concealed in accordance with an undertaking given to him that he would not be identified.

Notwithstanding TV3’s submission on this point, the Authority concludes that it was inherently unfair that TV3 placed such reliance on the recollections of the anonymous man and the affidavit sworn by Damian Peyroux regarding the alleged incidents relating to Mr Rothel without verifying the facts with Mr Rothel himself. In particular it expresses its reservations about the credibility of the allegation made by the anonymous man, and observes that the account of the incident relating to Damian Peyroux was contradicted by Mr Rothel’s sworn affidavit. It therefore upholds this aspect of the complaint.

Standard G4 – Conclusion

A common element of the aspects upheld under standard G4 was TV3’s failure to check the veracity of matters put to it by Dr White and his supporters. In the Authority’s view it should have been apparent to TV3 that it was being told only one side of the story. No matter how compelling the narrative of Dr White and his supporters, the Authority considers that TV3 had a duty to verify its facts before the programme went to air. Its failure to do so has resulted in substantive unfairness to the Diocese, the Dean, Canon Somers-Edgar, Mr Sim and Mr Rothel because a number of allegations made about their conduct were never substantiated. Indeed, many have subsequently been shown to be untrue. Furthermore, the programme contained imputations about their conduct which were unfair because they implied that Dr White’s dismissal was orchestrated by the Diocese and its officials for improper motives. There was also a strong implication that the Diocese harboured officials who engaged in aberrant behaviour.

The Authority notes that the Dean is reported as saying that he had no knowledge of the allegations of serious misconduct against Mr Rothel and it accepts that this was the case. The Authority prefers the Dean’s account of what occurred, noting that the reporter did not put the matter to anyone involved and that Mr Rothel was ignorant of the claims until the broadcast. That being so, the implication that the Dean was protecting Mr Rothel becomes untenable. Again the Authority finds that it was unfair to suggest otherwise, and in doing so TV3 breached standard G4.

The Authority is also left with an overall impression that Dr White’s advocates were more readily believed than his critics, and that minimal effort was made to test their account of events. Scant consideration was given also to the number of years that had gone by since the young men were disturbed by Dr White’s behaviour, and to the effect this would have had on their recollection of events. The point was that they were young and vulnerable at the time the events occurred, and the appropriateness or otherwise of Dr White’s conduct had to be measured against that. His position of responsibility, conferred on him by his status in the Cathedral, was also relevant in that context.

The interview with the anonymous man again, in the Authority’s view, gives rise to difficulties. The Authority notes that the way in which this interview was conducted by an interviewer in Christchurch and with the subject in a studio in Dunedin, in the presence of a camera operator, compromised its credibility. The Authority would expect that interviews with people making sexual disclosures of this nature would be treated with more regard to the sensitivity of the subject matter, in the interests of both respect for interviewees, and gaining a credible account of the events being described.

Standard G5 – respect for the principles of law

Mr Greet complained that standard G5 was breached because the allegation was made that Mr Rothel was a "homosexual predator" and he was given no opportunity to defend himself against that charge.

Mr Sim complained that no allowance had been made in the programme for the Church’s wish and need to follow due legal process following Dr White giving notice that he intended to lodge a grievance. He maintained that no respect was given to the Church’s position of not wishing to disclose information publicly which it regarded as personal to Dr White.

Mr Sim pointed out that the employment matters were properly dealt with by the Courts. He argued that the programme had no respect for the legal processes which had been followed or the rights of individuals against whom allegations were made to have matters of that kind addressed through fair processes.

TV3 responded that the issue of Dr White’s dismissal was already in the public domain, and that discussing the issues did not compromise any legal proceedings.

The Authority is not satisfied that a complaint is made out under this standard. In any event, the matters raised are dealt with under other relevant standards, the Authority concludes. It declines to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

Standard G6 – balance and fairness

A number of complainants alleged that the programme was unbalanced, and as a consequence, unfair in its portrayal of the events surrounding Dr White’s dismissal and related matters. The complainants alleged:

1.    The programme was unbalanced because it failed to put essential points of the story to the other side. Dr White was given an opportunity to answer the allegations against him, but the views of those not aligned with him were not sought.

TV3 maintained that it had not set out with an agenda to support Dr White. Rather, it said, it had highlighted the apparent hypocrisy or irony in the allegations by reference to other people’s conduct, notably that of Canon Somers-Edgar and Robert Rothel. In addition, TV3’s reporter stated in his affidavit:

It is correct that ultimately Dr White came off as a sympathetic character but we did not set out to paint him as a paragon of virtue. What transpired is nothing more than the facts indicate.

TV3 also argued that it was not required that every person referred to in relation to matters of fact should have an automatic right to express an opinion within the programme. In addition, it continued, it was not a requirement to necessarily obtain a response to every statement of fact.

The Diocese and other complainants objected to the programme’s evident support for Dr White, and argued that it was unfair that TV3 failed to report truthfully the circumstances of Dr White’s dismissal. It complained that the programme had created a false, discriminatory and dishonest portrayal of the Diocese, the Cathedral and individuals associated with them.

Mr Greet noted that the accusations of sexual misconduct against Canon Somers-Edgar and Robert Rothel were regarded by TV3 as fact, while the allegations against Dr White were dismissed as inconsequential and lacking in substance. Neither Canon Somers-Edgar nor Mr Rothel was given an opportunity to respond, he observed.

The Diocese also argued that it was unfair that Canon Somers-Edgar, Diccon Sim and Robert Rothel were not given an opportunity to respond. In his complaint, Robert Rothel maintained that his unwillingness to appear on camera did not deny him the fair right of response, or excuse TV3 from the need to present a balanced picture.

The Authority regards TV3’s reliance on Dr White and his supporters as the principal sources of information about Dr White’s employment difficulties and the machinations within the Diocesan hierarchy as imprudent. It considers that that is the overriding reason why it has found the programme to be deficient in so many respects. Indeed, the Authority finds it difficult to comprehend why TV3 had not been more circumspect about accepting as fact the views put to it by Dr White and those aligned with him. In the result, TV3’s uncritical acceptance of the aggrieved Dr White’s version of events resulted in a programme which failed to demonstrate a balanced and impartial examination of the issues. In particular, it notes, a number of matters had not been put to the Dean – or the featured individuals themselves – for response. These included the broadcast of the videotape footage of Canon Somers-Edgar, the allegations that Mr Rothel had sexually approached two men, and the allegation that Mr Sim had aspirations to be Assistant Choirmaster and had fallen out with Dr White when he was not so appointed.

As TV3 itself has admitted, Dr White came out of the programme as a sympathetic character. It maintained that that was what the facts revealed. The Authority does not agree with this interpretation. For example, it observes, the programme contained an overriding theme that the dismissal was effected on spurious grounds. TV3 appeared to place a great deal of reliance on the fact that the young men who had made complaints about Dr White’s behaviour some years before had subsequently withdrawn them. However, the Authority notes, the withdrawal of the complaints does not imply that the incidents had never occurred. For whatever reason, the complaints had been withdrawn.

It is apparent to the Authority that TV3 was of the view that these two incidents were the fundamental reason for Dr White’s dismissal and that it had concluded that if the complaints had been withdrawn – and the possible reasons for that were not considered by it – then the dismissal was therefore unfair and unjustified. The Authority finds that that conclusion failed to take into account the reasons for the dismissal which were cited in the dismissal letter which TV3 had a copy of.

While Dr White’s alleged inappropriate behaviour with some young men of the choir was of concern to Diocesan authorities, the Authority understands that other matters were relied upon by the Dean in concluding that the employment relationship had irretrievably broken down. These included incidents which the Dean believed were calculated by Dr White to undermine the his authority, such as Dr White’s deliberately slow walking between the organ loft and choir stalls on three successive Sundays – in defiance of a request not to do so – and which the Dean contended caused an unacceptable disruption to public worship. In addition, the Dean cited Dr White’s report to the churchwarden just before the employment mediation was to begin that the Dean had been living with a male prostitute and that he had made remarks to an adult choir member to the effect that he had enjoyed ogling some Samoan boys.

The Authority further notes that, in concluding that the dismissal was justified, the Dean had cited evidence of past misconduct, including inappropriate behaviour towards members of the choir, which had been the subject of mediation between Dr White and a previous Dean. The Authority concludes that the significance of that conduct was never placed in its proper context by TV3.

The sympathetic treatment of Dr White and his supporters at the expense of the conflicting perspective was fundamental to the programme’s deficiencies in relation to balance, the Authority concludes. It upholds the complaint that the programme was unbalanced because only one side of the issue was fully addressed.

2.    It was unfair and unbalanced to include the videotape because it was shown out of context.

TV3 maintained that the videotape simply portrayed factual matters. It was included because it highlighted the hypocrisy and bigotry within the church community. It emphasised the irony of the fact that Canon Somers-Edgar had been the person who first reported improper behaviour on the part of Dr White, it wrote.

All of the complainants highlighted the inherent unfairness demonstrated by TV3 in including the videotape extracts in the programme. They emphasised the circumstances under which the comments were made (the fact that it was a private party, that Canon Somers-Edgar had been goaded over a sustained period into making the comments and that he was obviously inebriated), and the fact that the video was selectively edited so that the remarks were burdened with additional meaning. At no time was Canon Somers-Edgar informed that TV3 intended to screen the extracts, nor was he ever asked for comment.

The inclusion of the videotape extracts has been dealt with above under standard G4. The Authority prefers to subsume the balance complaint accordingly.

3.    The Dean complained that it was unfair to be described as "judge, jury and executioner" in relation to the disciplinary process.

This point has been dealt with above.

4.    The programme failed to acknowledge the painstakingly careful process used by the employer in accordance with the law in relation to the termination of Dr White’s employment.

The Authority notes that TV3 had access to the dismissal letter written by the Dean and so was aware that the dispute with Dr White was long-standing. However, it failed to allude to that in the programme. Furthermore, it omitted to relate that the dismissal had been effected after mediation had failed, or that Dr White had seemingly attempted to subvert the process by reporting to the churchwarden the Dean’s comment about Samoan boys, and that the Dean was said to be living with a male prostitute. On the basis that there was clear evidence that Dr White had a somewhat turbulent employment relationship with all of the various Deans under whom he was employed, the Authority concludes it was unfair that the programme appeared to imply that his employment difficulties were of recent origin and related only to the arrival of the Bishop and the present Dean. It finds that TV3’s failure to refer to the long history of discord, and the attempts to resolve it, gave an unbalanced and unfair perception of the facts.

5.    It was unfair to describe the three men named by the Dean as having been subjected to Dr White’s attention as "alleged victims".

TV3 responded that there was a clear reason, and merit, in using that expression. It noted that the Dean had provided the names of three people who were prepared to speak to TV3 to confirm that they had been subject to sexual impropriety from Dr White. TV3 advised that it had spoken to all three of them and had concluded they were either without credibility or that what was alleged to have occurred was of such a minor nature that its reporter could not believe the conduct alleged was the foundation for an allegation of sexual abuse or harassment by Dr White. In TV3’s view, the allegations upon which Dr White had been dismissed had proven to be without foundation.

The Dean responded that the interview with one of the "alleged victims" which was deemed by TV3 to be without credibility or so minor in nature had been made in his presence and was not deserving of the dismissive comments made by TV3. He said he believed all three had raised serious matters.

The Authority finds that the description of the three men as Dr White’s "alleged victims" was not unfair. It declines to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

6.    The programme implied that there was a non-professional relationship between the Dean and Robert Rothel.

In his affidavit, TV3’s reporter pointed out that all the information he had indicated that the relationship between the Dean and Mr Rothel was a reasonably close one. He noted that they had known each other when they were both living in Christchurch and they were known to lunch together and socialise together. In addition, Mr Rothel had several official roles at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Both the Dean and Mr Rothel unequivocally rejected the imputation that there was a non-professional relationship between them. The Dean complained that the imputation was reinforced by the use of camera shots of him and Mr Rothel in the same frame, and in material such as the reporter’s voiceover that Mr Rothel had taken on a more prominent role since he had become Dean, and that "Raymond White thinks he knows why."

Whether such an imputation exists is a matter which was also put to the Authority in the context of fairness. It prefers to subsume the matter under that standard.

7.    The conduct of TV3’s reporter and producer demonstrated that they had a predetermined story.

TV3’s reporter swore in his affidavit that in the preparation of the programme he had decided that it should not be seen to be exonerating Dr White overall. He continued:

That view was carried into the final cut of this documentary, but it seems to have been lost in the aftermath. It is     correct that ultimately Dr White came off as a sympathetic character but we did not set out to paint him as a paragon of virtue. What transpired is nothing more than what the facts indicate.

The Diocese expressed its concern at the reporter’s readiness to accept what were plainly partisan documents – for example, the untested affidavits relating to the 1996 warning – as if they were wholly accurate, and that no attempt had been made to obtain the church’s response. Significantly, it argued, the field tapes recorded the reporter’s bias. As a further demonstration of the reporter’s alignment, it added that it understood he was to be called by Dr White as a witness at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

The field tapes revealed that Dr White and his supporters were allowed re-takes, were helped with their answers, and given leading questions, the Diocese submitted. This contrasted sharply with the way in which the Dean was treated in his interview.

Mr Rothel also compared the manner in which he had been treated in his interview with the way in which Damian Peyroux had been treated. The reporter’s willingness to accept Damian Peyroux’s version of events was, Mr Rothel contended, not surprising since he had "ingratiated himself" into the choir circle and had been out drinking with Damian Peyroux, and had used the Peyroux home in the making of the programme. Mr Rothel argued that it was clear that the reporter had fully accepted Damian Peyroux’s version of events before filming the sequence.

In its final submission, the Diocese also complained that the reporter had made up his mind about Mr Rothel prior to his interview. Why else, it asked, would he have secretly filmed him arriving at the interview? It also noted that the field tapes revealed the reporter saying off camera, two days before the Rothel interview, " if there was some way – Mike and I are thinking now – to draw Rothel into the story as well…".

Mr Barnett reported that TV3’s inquiries extended to an interview of the principal of a school with which the Dean had been associated when he had lived in Christchurch. She had been asked by the reporter if she had any evidence that he had been involved in paedophilic activity while there. Similar inquiries had been made concerning Mr Rothel, Mr Barnett noted.

Mr Sim also reported that inquiries had been made concerning his personal life.

In addition, the complainants contended that it was inappropriate that the reporter had fraternised socially with a group of choir members while recording the programme. The Dean maintained that it demonstrated that his behaviour was not that of an impartial investigative reporter.

The Authority is not prepared to make a definitive finding on the question of predetermination. However, it considers several of the matters raised by the complainants as providing evidence of bias and unfair treatment have merit. It has had the opportunity to examine the field tapes provided by TV3 and observed a marked contrast in the manner in which the Dean was interviewed, as compared to the way in which Dr White and his supporters were questioned. It was also apparent that the Dean had not been advised of the programme’s themes, and that he had but a general idea of its intended content. By comparison, the Authority noted numerous instances in the field tapes where Dr White and his supporters – including the Peyroux brothers – were given opportunities to rehearse their responses or to "repackage" their answers to the reporter’s questions. There were also examples of them being prompted by the reporter to provide a particular response. In addition, the Authority notes, allegations made by Dr White were never challenged by the reporter, whereas statements made by the Dean were on occasions diluted by a disparaging retort from the reporter. An example included the Dean’s opening statement that he had high standards of personal integrity and professional behaviour for himself and for his staff, which was followed in the programme by a voice-over stating: "A pity he wasn’t at St Paul’s a few years earlier to give the same message to Canon Somers-Edgar" and a cut to the Canon on the birthday party videotape. Given that the Dean did not even know that TV3 possessed the videotape, it was manifestly unfair to juxtapose his general comment about his own and his staff’s behaviour alongside that extract.

As another example of the programme’s lack of impartiality, the Authority cites the questioning of Dr White when he was asked if he had ever behaved improperly towards members of the choir. It notes that TV3 failed to call Dr White to account for behaviour which resulted in a formal warning being placed on his employment record. Furthermore, there is no hint of the reporter’s concern (expressed in his affidavit) that he "had a problem with [Dominque Peyroux’s] credibility", that he believed Dominque’s memory of the alleged incident in the motel room appeared selective, or that he "had reservations that in fact White might well have done something to Dominique which was now being down-played." Had these reservations been conveyed, viewers would have been in a better position to evaluate for themselves where the truth might lie. However, TV3 elected to portray Dr White as a man who had been unfairly treated. It upholds this aspect of the complaint.

With respect to the reporter’s fraternising with the choir members, the Authority concludes that the extent of the relationship between him and the choir fraternity was not a matter for it except insofar as it had an impact on whether the programme itself was impartial and balanced. It subsumes this aspect as it is a matter which has been dealt with elsewhere. The Authority declines to uphold the complaints that it was unfair for the broadcaster to have investigated the private lives of some Diocesan officials. It considers it reasonable for TV3 to have canvassed widely for background information to the programme, although – as it has observed – it would have expected TV3 to show equal diligence in researching other principal characters in the story.

8.    The programme disclosed a woeful failure to investigate. It was a campaign, not an investigation. TV3 had been enlisted by Dr White and his supporters to injure those whom he perceived as having had a role opposed to him in the disciplinary matters pursued by the church.

In recounting the events leading to the programme, TV3 advised that it had "received information from sources about the sacking of Dr Raymond White". The programme’s producer was then referred to a friend of Dr White’s who provided TV3 with some information regarding the personalities linked to his sacking. TV3 said that it had been informed that the real reason Dr White had been sacked was for sexual misconduct, and it had set out to obtain confirmation of this. It noted that it had received assistance from Dr White’s lawyer and two of his confidantes.

TV3 concluded that what the programme presented was Dr White defending himself against highly questionable allegations of sexual impropriety against a background of apparent hypocrisy. It objected to the suggestion that the programme "obliged" Dr White in its investigation. In fact, it said, Dr White had to be persuaded to take part in the programme.

The Diocese argued that TV3’s bias was evidenced by its exclusion of material unfavourable to Dr White. Examples included the failure to mention: his history of conflict with two previous Deans; his withdrawal of the personal grievance over the 1996 warning and what that might imply; the evidence that others apart from Canon Somers-Edgar had been told of Dr White’s inappropriate behaviour; the fact that Dominique Peyroux’s affidavit contained a statement to the effect that Dr White had chased him around a room and attempted to kiss him; the fact that Dr White reported not only the "Samoan boys" comment but also a completely unfounded allegation that the Dean was living with a male prostitute; the fact that the disciplinary process against Dr White had begun before the "Samoan boys" comment and therefore could not have been prompted by that report; that there were other instances of misconduct relied on in the dismissal letter and about which TV3 made no enquiry; that it had failed to make enquiry of those Diocesan officials involved in the 1996 investigation about Dr White’s behaviour; and the allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the three people nominated by the Dean.

The Diocese also contended that the programme’s bias was evidenced by its embellishment or overstatement of facts. As examples it cited the description of the choir as having a 140 year old history, when the field tapes record the Dean telling the reporter that 30 or 40 years ago women were part of the choir; and the description of the choir as being the last all male Cathedral choir in New Zealand when the Dean had told the reporters this was wrong. The Diocese wrote:

Not only were these embellishments a thinly disguised attempt to bolster the status and the importance of the choir, it was accompanied by a failure to mention that the large majority of choir members were not in fact Anglicans. To have mentioned that would have weakened the significance of their walkout and so it is not mentioned, although it was known to the reporters.

The constant reference to choirboys also overstated matters, the Diocese continued. It emphasised that the reporters well knew that the allegations concerned young men in the choir.

Mr Sim contended that the programme reported as fact very serious accusations against individuals on the basis of the statements of those known to be central to a vociferous campaign of support for Dr White. He complained that the programme clearly and unfairly discounted the possibility that the warning to Dr White about his conduct had validity, and that it ignored evidence which corroborated the areas of concern about which Dr White had been warned.

Mr Sim added:

The intention of Dr White and others to seek to inflict harm on individuals involved in consideration of the employment matters was made clear during the disciplinary processes itself, and indeed was significant in the Dean’s conclusion that the employment relationship had broken down. This was readily apparent on a balanced consideration of the material covered by TV3.

In its final statement, TV3 submitted that it was satisfied that it had collated sufficient credible evidence to support its conclusions that members of the clergy were engaging in inappropriate behaviour and that there was a certain hypocrisy on the part of the Cathedral hierarchy in Dr White’s dismissal.

The Authority finds that a number of omissions and oversights have contributed to a programme which was inadequate in its examination of the issues surrounding the sacking of Dr White. The Authority finds little evidence that TV3 had conducted a balanced investigation, and concludes the report was tendentious. From materials provided to the Authority by TV3, it is apparent that Dr White and his supporters believed that Dr White was the victim of a conspiracy from within the church, and that those who orchestrated the campaign against him did so out of malice. For their part, it appears they believed that such behaviour warranted a response, and they provided TV3 with gossip, innuendo and sensational allegations about the Dean and various Diocesan officials. To its credit, the Authority notes, TV3 did not publish some of the more salacious and implausible allegations. However, in publishing any of the claims without first checking their veracity, TV3 took a significant risk. As is apparent, that risk in the Authority’s view was not justifiable. It upholds this aspect of the complaint.

As to the programme’s contested presentation of this as being the country’s last all-male church choir, and having always been all-male, the Authority acknowledges that the case was over-stated and probably incorrect. However these were matters minor enough not to infringe the standard.

Conclusion

The Authority concludes that principal among the programme’s deficiencies was TV3’s failure to obtain balance. Its uncritical acceptance of the views of those known to be aligned with the aggrieved Dr White, and its failure to check their assertions independently resulted in a programme fraught with breaches of broadcasting standards, including accuracy, fairness, impartiality and balance.

Standard G7 – deceptive programme practice

1.    The editing of the videotape.

Several complainants alleged that TV3 had used a deceptive practice in its editing of the videotape. They pointed out that the videotape had been recorded without consent at a private function, and should never have been broadcast without consent of those appearing. The tape had been selectively edited so that it appeared the remarks had a particular meaning and the extracts from the video were shown out of context. In addition, the videotape was broadcast in a way which made it appear that it was directly relevant to the primary issue, which was the dismissal of Dr White.

TV3 responded that the programme made it clear that the videotape was taken at a 21st birthday party by members of a family who supported Dr White. It maintained that the use of the videotape was entirely appropriate, particularly as it was Canon Somers-Edgar who alleged that Dr White had engaged in acts of sexual impropriety. The extracts were a fair representation of the videotape, and in its view the facts needed no further explanation.

Although the Authority accepts that the editing of the videotape could be said to have employed deception, in that it did not convey the context in which the remarks were made, it has not been the Authority’s practice to interpret the standard in that way. It has interpreted standard G7 as applying where technical trickery is involved. It therefore declines to uphold the complaint under standard G7, although it deals with the matters raised in its consideration of standard G19, which it examines below.

2.    The Dean complained that there was a flagrant breach of the terms which were agreed with respect to filming in the Cathedral. He reported that he had expressly instructed the film crew that no individual was to be filmed except for himself. He noted that close up shots had been taken of Mr Rothel, Canon Somers-Edgar, and Mr Sim. The Dean said he had specifically obtained the agreement of TV3 that other people engaged in worship would not be identifiable. In his view, the footage taken in the Cathedral demonstrated a blatant betrayal of the trust he had placed in the reporters.

TV3 responded that it was agreed that it would not film parishioners. It therefore showed only those who exercised some official function in the Church. TV3 contended that it would have been obvious to the Dean and the congregation that the cameraman was filming the choir and those officiating in some capacity.

The Dean responded that those filmed had no way of knowing that they had been filmed and this was the reason they had raised no protest prior to the broadcast. Furthermore he added it had not been obvious to him what the camera crew were doing as they were out of his line of vision, and he trusted that they would do as had been agreed.

The Authority notes that the arrangement to film conformed with normal programme-making procedures for documentaries where illustrative footage is sought. It considers such filming is a known convention which would not deceive viewers. Other matters raised in this area of the complaint are dealt with elsewhere.

3.    The Dean complained that the reporter breached the terms upon which he agreed to the interview. In particular he cited an off the record conversation which he had with the reporter which he claimed had been misrepresented during the interview.

TV3 argued that the interview had been granted without any conditions. It was only when the Dean was asked about Robert Rothel that the Dean objected and ended the interview. In TV3’s view, in the context of information which it possessed about Mr Rothel, the questioning of the Dean on this matter was "perfectly legitimate".

With respect to the part of the conversation which was off the record, TV3 contended that the Dean had told the reporter that Dr White was "sexually abusing" choir members. However, when it was pointed out that there was no evidence to justify that allegation, the Dean had described Dr White as a "sexual harasser". When asked if that was the fundamental reason for Dr White’s dismissal, the Dean had answered, after being assured his response was off the record, "Absolutely".

The Dean insisted that TV3’s account of this conversation totally misrepresented what had occurred. He said he was quite clear that the conversation was agreed to be off the record. It was true, he said, that a charge of sexual harassment was on Dr White’s employment record and that the whole of his employment record formed the background to the most recent breakdown in relationship. In that sense, the Dean agreed that the incidents of sexual harassment were "fundamental", in that they served as the groundwork for the subsequent dismissal. However, he argued, TV3’s conclusion that this was the reason for the dismissal conflicted with the reasons given in the dismissal letter which TV3 had seen, and was not put to the Dean for response.

At best, the Authority concludes that there was a misunderstanding about the terms of the agreement. It has dealt with this matter above under standard G4.

4.    The editing of Ian Stewart’s interview created a misleading impression.

Referring to the field tapes, the Diocese complained that what was broadcast was not representative of what Ian Stewart had said when he recounted the reporting of the Dean’s "Samoan boys" comment. In particular, it noted that the "judgment day" comment had been made in response to a question which he understood to mean that the Dean was denying the conversation had ever occurred. It argued that to have broadcast the response but not the balance of what he later went on to say was misleading.

The Authority concludes this is a standard G19 issue, which it deals with below.

5.    The secret filming of Robert Rothel was a deceptive programme practice.

Despite an express agreement that he would not be identified on camera, Robert Rothel was filmed performing his duties in each of the church services, and was filmed leaving the interview which had been set up by the Dean.

This matter has been dealt with under standard G4 above.

6.    The Dean contended that TV3 had orchestrated scenes of the choir hounding him in his office the day after the broadcast for the purpose of creating a news item out of the events of the previous evening’s broadcast.

TV3 did not respond to this aspect of the complaint.

The Authority deals with the complaints about the news item in a decision released separately (Decision Nos: 1999-138 and 139).

Standard G12 –To be mindful of the effect any programme may have on children during their normally accepted viewing times

Mr Greet complained that the content of the programme was unsuitable for an early evening broadcast when children would be watching television.

TV3 responded that the title and introduction to the item made its content clear and that parents had time to ensure that children were not watching. In addition, it noted that the language and images used in the programme relating to sexual matters were not explicit. It declined to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

The Authority declines to uphold the complaint that standard G12 was breached. It does not regard the content as unsuitable for broadcast during the early evening hours.

Standard G13 – discrimination against people on account of their sexual orientation

 The Diocese contended that one of the most dishonest features of the programme was its underlying discrimination and implicit homophobia. It maintained that TV3 appeared unable to distinguish between paedophilia and homosexuality, or between a person’s private life and their public duties. It wrote:

The programme denigrates all who are gay as liars, hypocrites, and as being actually paedophiliac predators. The men of the choir are described as "choir boys" and thus as potential victims.

The following were matters identified as illustrating the programme’s homophobic stance.

1.     "Choirboys are seen by some predatory homosexuals as plums for the picking. "

The Dean complained that the phrase identified homosexuality with paedophilia and that it was unwarranted and inaccurate, and served to endorse prejudice against homosexual people. He also complained that with the programme’s theme that Dr White had protected the choir from predatory homosexuals, a direct attack had been made on Canon Somers-Edgar and himself. In his case, he argued, taken with the reference to the conversation about the Samoan boys, the reference to predatory behaviour could be seen to be referring to him.

TV3 responded that the reference was an accurate portrayal of the harassment which members of the choir had suffered. It argued that the identification of homosexuality with members of the choir was entirely warranted because it was true. TV3 responded that the reference to predatory conduct was connected with Mr Rothel, and had not implicated the Dean or Canon Somers-Edgar.

2.    The description of Mr Rothel as a homosexual sexual predator.

The complainants argued that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Rothel’s behaviour was predatory despite the allegations made by Damian Peyroux and the anonymous man. That description of him reinforced a perception that all homosexuals engaged in predatory behaviour which put other young men at risk.

TV3 justified the use of the phrase "homosexual sexual predator". It pointed to the two men who had complained of Mr Rothel’s unwanted sexual advances. They were clear, TV3 noted, in their recollections of what had happened, and by any measure they had felt victimised. It noted that in the news item the next day it was stated that the assaults were alleged, and that viewers would have concluded there was room for doubt and would have weighed the credibility of the two witnesses. It also argued that it was in the public interest to expose the fact that a man had "sexually interfered with another young man." It concluded that the phrase was justified and was not in breach of standard G13.

The Dean argued that the "sex" theme of the programme had exploited homophobic values to suggest that his personal orientation was in some way relevant to a consideration of the allegations which had been made against Dr White. The Dean argued that was nonsense. He suggested that had he been heterosexual and had the allegations made against Dr White been misconduct with women, no one would have suggested that the two matters had any common element. He also complained that the programme’s reference to "predators", the description of the choir members as boys, and the visual images of young choir members led to an inference of paedophilia. The Dean described this as outrageous.

The Dean also complained that by the programme’s persistent theme that Dr White was protecting the choir from predatory homosexuals, a direct attack had been made on Canon Somers-Edgar and himself.

TV3 responded that the identification of homosexuality and its relationship with members of the choir was entirely warranted because it was true. It explained that the reference to homosexual predatory conduct had been made in connection with Mr Rothel, and not with the Dean. It refuted absolutely any suggestion that its investigation revealed a homophobic predisposition, or that the programme could in any way be interpreted as anti-homosexual.

The Authority has paid close attention to the complaints that the programme contained elements of homophobia which resulted in negative stereotyping of homosexuals, and consequently encouraged discrimination against them.

It considers that there was a general inference that some homosexuals were likely to be paedophiles; "choirboys…seen by some predatory homosexuals as plums for the picking." Some of the voiceover referring to homosexuality in the church was also juxtaposed with images of boy choir members, thus reinforcing the idea that children were possibly at risk from active homosexuals in the choir.

There was also an implication that active homosexuality could in itself be sinister: "The Bishop and Dr White know the dangers…", and that Dr White had to "work hard" to "protect" his choir boys, impliedly from homosexual advances. Yet no evidence was advanced by TV3 either in the programme or in its submissions that children in the choir were at risk at any time. The videotaped extract of Canon Somers-Edgar making facetious reference to sex with "six-year-old children" further added to the inference of homosexual paedophilia within the Cathedral’s culture.

The Authority considers that discrimination may well occur when a distinguishing characteristic – in this case homosexuality – is used to describe people in a pejorative sense. It believes that there was an underlying sensationalism in the report that could be expected to encourage a distorted impression of typical homosexual behaviour, and which gave the impression that homosexual relationships are themselves aberrant.

The Authority applies a higher threshold than this when it considers a breach of standard G13, however. The Authority is not satisfied that there was sufficient endorsement or encouragement of discrimination to breach the standard. The pejorative impressions it notes here were relevant to its consideration of overall balance, referred to above. Accordingly, it declines to uphold the complaint under standard G13.

Standard G14 – news must be balanced, fair and accurate

Several complainants asserted that the item breached this standard because it was unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate.

These matters are dealt with under standards G1, G4 and G6, which are considered above.

Standard G15 – integrity and reliability of information should be monitored regularly

This standard was allegedly breached by the following shortcomings:

1.    Damian Peyroux’s account of being sexually interfered with by Robert Rothel lacked credibility.

TV3 responded that it understood a complaint had been lodged with the church with regard to Mr Rothel’s behaviour. It added that Damian Peyroux had been interviewed on camera recalling the incident, and that his comments were supported by the unnamed person. Mr Rothel, it noted, had elected not to comment on camera.

Mr Greet argued that the scenario presented by Mr Peyroux was unlikely, and he noted that no indication had been given that Mr Peyroux had complained either to the Church or to the Police.

The Authority deals with this point elsewhere.

2.    The anonymous man’s account of being sexually interfered with by Robert Rothel defied belief. He was an unreliable source.

TV3 argued that given the sensitivity of the comments, it was not surprising that the man should elect not to be identified. It denied that that compromised his credibility.

Mr Greet maintained that the suggestion it was possible to fall asleep when someone "pressed his penis into your back and played with your private parts" defied belief and brought the anonymous man’s credibility into question. He also contended that the man’s insistence on remaining anonymous raised a question about his integrity and reliability.

The Authority deals with this point elsewhere.

3.    TV3 demonstrated that it lacked integrity by broadcasting a privately produced videotape without permission.

TV3 reiterated that the private videotape assumed a new and public significance after Canon Somers-Edgar had made allegations of sexual impropriety against Dr White. The extracts shown were, it advised, a fair representation of that videotape. The reporter in his affidavit stated that in his opinion:

…the story could not proceed without that am-cam. It was the one element which elevated the story above a mire of accusations and counter-accusations, exposing, as it did, the hypocrisy of the Anglican Diocese.

Later in his affidavit, the reporter advised that he had not approached Canon Somers-Edgar because he did not want to let him know that he had a copy of the videotape. He believed that if Canon Somers-Edgar knew that TV3 had it, he would have attempted to obtain an injunction.

Canon Somers-Edgar rejected TV3’s contention that the use of the videotape was justified because it was evidence of hypocrisy. He contended that the tape was selectively edited so that the remarks were burdened with additional meaning. It was grossly unfair and unjust to screen it, he argued, particularly as no attempt had been made to obtain comment from him.

These points are dealt with elsewhere in the decision.

Standard G16 – News, current affairs and documentaries should not be presented in such a way as to cause unnecessary panic, alarm or distress

The Dean complained that the effect of the programme had been to cause alarm, panic and distress to those who had been vilified, as well as to a number of parents of choirboys and parishioners.

TV3 responded that sometimes the truth may cause alarm or distress. It wrote:

If parents of choirboys and cathedral parishioners are alarmed, then TV3 is comfortable in the knowledge that it drew to the public’s attention the apparent hypocrisy and bigotry that arises when those who criticise others, themselves indulge in anti-social behaviour.

In the Authority’s view this standard is not applicable on the facts. It therefore declines to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

Standard G19 – care to be taken in editing programme material to ensure it is a true reflection of original event

1.    The way in which the private videotape was edited breached this standard because it was not a true reflection of what actually occurred at the party.

TV3 responded that the videotape assumed significance after Canon Somers-Edgar had elected to allege acts of sexual impropriety concerning Dr White. The extracts shown were, it maintained, a fair representation of that videotape.

Canon Somers-Edgar contended that the videotape was culled to isolate the most improper remarks and to put a dishonest spin on them to imply that he was a homosexual paedophile. He emphasised that an examination of the videotape in its entirety would reveal that his comments were in response to being hounded and harassed into making slanderous, irreligious and blasphemous statements.

The Authority does not agree that the excerpts broadcast fairly represented the content of the videotape. It has considered this matter in its discussion on fairness above and privacy below. It upholds the editing as a breach of standard G19, for the reasons given elsewhere.

2.    The breach of the agreement that only the Dean should be filmed contravened the standard.

TV3 advised that it did not accept what the Diocese claimed to be an agreement reached between its reporters and the Dean.

It reiterated that the position was that TV3 agreed that it would not film parishioners, and showed only those who exercised some official function in the Church. It argued that it would have been obvious to the Dean and to the congregation that the cameraman was filming the choir and those officiating in some capacity. It noted that there was no complaint by the Dean or any other person filmed either at the time or immediately after.

This, the Authority considers, is a fairness matter and has been dealt with above.

3.    The Dean complained that the part of the interview with him in which he spoke about Gregory Peyroux’s changing role at the Cathedral had been edited so as to make it appear that he was talking about his role changing from that of Organ Scholar to the post of Assistant Organist. He described this as a deliberate manipulation of the material. He wrote:

The changing role to which I was referring was specifically from organ scholar to another far more informal role of someone who helps out from time to time. The effect of this editing was to make it appear that I had endorsed Gregory’s claim that I had offered him the post of assistant organist, which is untrue.

TV3 responded that the Dean’s account was a "rationalised analysis" of what was purportedly said. In its final submission, TV3 refuted the contention that its editing had created a misleading impression.

The Authority has reviewed the field tapes relating to this aspect of the interview with the Dean. During the interview the Dean explained that Gregory Peyroux’s role as Organ Scholar had been terminated, after he had held that position for 6 years. Before he resumed playing, the Dean explained that he had decided it was appropriate for Gregory Peyroux to take a break. When he did play again the Dean explained that, like other choir members who played the organ, he would be playing as a member of the choir who liked to play the organ. The Dean said in his affidavit that he had never offered Gregory Peyroux the formal role of Assistant Organist.

The Authority notes that the reporter did not ask the Dean whether he had offered Gregory Peyroux the position of Assistant Organist, or about whether his possession of the videotape was instrumental in his role changing from Organ Scholar to something less formal. Yet, it observes, in the programme Gregory Peyroux’s assertion "No tape, no playing" was followed by the reporter’s voiceover stating that the Dean had a different version of events, and that he thought Peyroux should take a break before he started his new job.

The Authority finds that the editing created a clear impression that Gregory Peyroux had been offered the position of Assistant Organist and that the offer had been withdrawn when he would not hand over the videotape. TV3, the Authority notes, had relied solely on the evidence of Gregory Peyroux when it reported these matters. Although the Dean had a different version of the events surrounding Gregory Peyroux’s changing role, the question of whether he had offered him the position of Assistant Organist, and whether his possession of the tape was implicated in that change, was not put to the Dean.

As a result, the Authority concludes, by its editing of the Dean’s comments and their juxtaposition with the reporter’s voiceover, the programme created an impression which was not an accurate record of what was actually said by the Dean. The Authority finds that the editing of these remarks breached the requirements of standard G19, and upholds this aspect of the complaint.

4.    The termination of the Dean’s interview was misrepresented on the programme.

TV3 maintained that it was perfectly reasonable for the reporter to have asked the Dean why he was so nervous about Mr Rothel in light of information it possessed, and allegations which had been made about Mr Rothel. In his affidavit, the reporter rejected the Dean’s reason for terminating the interview – which was that Mr Rothel had sought confidentiality – asserting that he had not disclosed Mr Rothel’s name until after the Dean had stood up to terminate the interview.

The Dean and the Diocese argued that the termination of the interview was misused to convey the impression that the Dean was guilty of improper conduct in relation to Mr Rothel.

In its final submission, TV3 persisted with its view that Mr Rothel’s name was not mentioned by the reporter until after the Dean had terminated the interview. Noting the Dean’s explanation for his abrupt exit was his concern not to breach Mr Rothel’s confidence, TV3 asserted that an equally plausible explanation was that the Dean realised that the interview was heading toward material which would be embarrassing for him if it were revealed. In particular, it was referring to his collusion with Mr Rothel in setting up the interview with TV3, the close association between the Dean and Mr Rothel, and alleged sexual assaults by Mr Rothel on young members of the choir.

The Authority has had recourse to the field tapes of the termination of the interview in assessing this aspect of the complaint. The exchange, which is recorded in the transcript, included the following:

DEAN KIRKPATRICK
I have done nothing except have a conversation with some people who told me they had something to say, and encouraged them to say what they wanted to say.
MATT CONWAY:
Now one of those men that we met….
DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I am not able to comment.
MATT CONWAY:
I understand that. I understand that….
DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
This is actually not a reasonable line of questioning.
[the following was not broadcast:
MATT CONWAY:
It’s a very relevant one though.
DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
It’s not one I want to engage in at all.
MATT CONWAY:
One of these people was a person of some responsibility in the Cathedral.
DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I am not going to engage in this conversation. This is not appropriate.]
MATT CONWAY:
And that person is [DEAN STANDS UP TO LEAVE] Robert Rothel….
DEAN KIRKPATRICK:
I'm sorry this is not appropriate….
MATT CONWAY:
..who we discovered, we've been told that … why are you so nervous about Robert Rothel? Voiceover: Back at St Paul’s, all seems serene. It’s the final irony that, Robert Rothel, sexual predator, now conducts at St Paul’s from the very position that Raymond White once dominated.


The Authority notes the reporter’s claim that the Dean terminated the interview before Mr Rothel’s name was disclosed.

However, it concludes that the Dean knew who was being referred to because he had set up the meeting between TV3 and the three men and knew that of the three nominated to speak to the reporter, only one, Mr Rothel, had actually been spoken to in person.

The Dean has explained that his reason for terminating the interview was because he knew that Mr Rothel had requested anonymity, and it was clear that the reporter’s line of questioning was not consistent with honouring that request. Having viewed the tapes, the Authority prefers the Dean’s explanation.

The Authority concludes that the inclusion of this incident and its juxtaposition with the voiceover gives rise to the strong, and wrong, implication that the Dean terminated the interview because he had something to hide, and this was reinforced by the reporter’s question. The Authority considers that this falls more to a breach of fairness and has dealt with it under standard G4.

5.    The editing of the interview with Ian Stewart conveyed the impression that the Dean had lied.

TV3 submitted that it had not misrepresented the comments made either by the Dean or Ian Stewart. It pointed out that Mr Stewart had provided an affidavit to TV3 attesting to the truth of his remarks. There was no suggestion he had been misrepresented on the programme, it noted.

The Authority has returned to the field tapes of this interview to clarify what was said by Mr Stewart and the context of his remarks about whether he or the Dean was lying. The tapes reveal that in response to the reporter’s suggestion that he surely must have misconstrued what he heard in the vestry, Mr Stewart explained that he quite clearly remembered the words said by the Dean, which he then repeated. He added that he did not feel the conversation was appropriate for that time or in that place because of the proximity to the choir boys. In addition, he said it had disturbed him at a time when he was preparing for worship. Referring to the reported comments, the reporter then said:

        The Dean is a senior clergyman…clearly…he says it’s a total fabrication.

In response, Mr Stewart replied:

Well there was one other person listening and that’s God and I know that it’s true and the conversation occurred and it did occur between the choir room and the kitchen. I’m perfectly content to wait until Judgment Day for God to decide who is lying and who isn’t.

The field tape continued with the reporter then clarifying to Mr Stewart that the Dean had not denied that he had made a comment but that it related to what was being smoked and that it had no overt sexual connotations. Mr Stewart then accepted that he could have misconstrued the comment, and admitted that it was not overtly sexual.

In the editing of this exchange, TV3 used Mr Stewart’s Judgment Day comment in counterpoint to the Dean’s denial that the comments had been made in front of the boys and his offer to swear that on oath. The Authority notes that the Judgment Day comment was Mr Stewart’s response to the reporter’s assertion that the Dean had said "it’s a total fabrication", as if he were denying that the conversation ever took place. That was unfair, the Authority finds because it misled viewers as to the context in which the remark was made. It upholds the complaint under standard G19.

Standard G20 – presentation of all significant sides in as fair a way as possible

Mr Greet complained that it was clear that interested parties had not been given an opportunity to comment.

TV3 responded that this aspect had been adequately dealt with under other standards.

The Authority subsumes this point under standards G4 and G6 above.

Privacy

The Authority received five complaints alleging that s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act was breached by the programme.

Dean Jonathan Kirkpatrick

In his privacy complaint, the Dean referred to efforts made by TV3 reporters to try to find information about his personal life that was discreditable. That "campaign", he wrote, was invasive of his privacy, and continued at the time of writing.

In its response to the Authority, TV3 argued that as the Dean had not articulated what private facts had been disclosed, the complaint was without basis and the Authority should reject it.

The Authority notes that the Dean made no further comment regarding his privacy complaint after he had received the response from TV3. It therefore concludes that he did not wish to pursue it. On that basis it makes no finding on the Dean’s privacy complaint.

Diccon Sim

Mr Sim complained that aspects of the programme were inconsistent with his right to privacy. He referred in particular to the footage broadcast of him while at worship at St Paul’s. He advised that he and other members of the Cathedral Singers group had been informed prior to the service that permission had been granted to TV3 to film during the service for the purpose of gaining general shots of the Cathedral and the Dean. Agreement had been expressly obtained by the Dean that no shots of individuals other than the Dean himself would be taken, Mr Sim added. That was a condition of permitting access for filming.

Mr Sim objected to the programme’s contention that he was part of the alleged campaign against Dr White in his role of Diocesan Chancellor. He noted that the programme expressly specified an alleged improper motivation for his actions, namely a supposed falling-out with Dr White when he refused to make him Assistant Choirmaster.

The clear inference, Mr Sim contended, was that he had given advice to the Dean which significantly influenced his actions and was improperly motivated and that the dismissal was then effected without proper grounds. Overall, he complained, there was a direct attack on him, personally and professionally. He wrote:

This attack is both dishonest, irrelevant to the content of the programme, and untrue.

Mr Sim reported that in the context of the programme, the breach of privacy had had severe consequences. He also complained that further private information continued to be sought about him and that TV3’s conduct represented a continuation of its intrusion into his personal privacy.

In its brief response to the Authority, TV3 advised that its film crew had received permission to film in the Cathedral. It denied that Mr Sim was "depicted in his personal religious observance", noting that in fact he was shown singing as part of the choir.

Referring to the Dean’s agreement with the film crew, TV3 observed that in spite of the Cathedral Singers being told that no individual would be filmed, its advice was that no such agreement had been struck. Furthermore, it noted, Mr Sim was not a party to the agreement between the Dean and the film crew.

TV3 concluded by maintaining that the statements made concerning Mr Sim were accurate on points of fact. It did not accept that his privacy had been breached and rejected this aspect of the complaint.

In his response to the Authority, Mr Sim said that he accepted that TV3 had received permission to film in the Cathedral. He noted that the Dean had advised him and other members of the Cathedral Singers of the limitations that had been agreed upon. Mr Sim advised that he had relied on those limitations in continuing to take part in the service. He added that had he believed TV3 was free to film him, he would have declined to take part in the service.

Next, he remarked that the advice given to him and other members of the Cathedral Singers was that TV3 had agreed that the Dean only would be filmed during the service. Mr Sim observed that it was clear that the Dean accepted that a number of people would not wish to be filmed, and he had given reassurance in that regard.

To TV3’s assertion that Mr Sim had not been filmed during his personal religious observance, but merely as a member of a choir, Mr Sim responded that in his case, his participation in Church music was predicated on religious observance. He described it as untenable and offensive for TV3 to have suggested that he was simply filmed "singing in a choir and as part of a choir". He suggested that TV3’s supposed reliance on a distinction between singing in a choir and worshipping demonstrated that it accepted it was inappropriate to depict him while he was engaged in his personal religious observance. In doing so, he argued, it had acknowledged that his privacy had been breached.

Mr Sim agreed that TV3 was correct to state that he was not personally a party to the arrangements made with TV3 and the Dean. He repeated that he had relied on what he was told by the Dean. Ultimately, he suggested, the matter was one of credibility. On the basis of his knowledge of the Dean and the fact that there was no reason for him to have misled the Cathedral Singers as to the arrangements he had made, Mr Sim said he accepted the Dean’s version of events above that of TV3. He also emphasised that even though he was generally aware of the TV3 crew in the Cathedral, he was unaware of what aspects were being filmed, and certainly unaware that he was the subject of any footage.

As referred to above in the discussion under fairness, the Authority finds there is some ambiguity with respect to the terms of the agreement between the Dean and the reporter regarding the filming in the church. It accepts that it was the Dean’s understanding that he had stipulated that only he could be filmed, and that in the general shots of the Cathedral, no parishioners were to be filmed. On the other hand, the reporter is unequivocal in his belief that the restrictions applied only to the filming of the morning service, and that there were no limitations on filming at evensong.

The Authority concludes that there is evidence of consent having been given for filming, although the extent of that consent is unclear. The Authority then turns to the question of whether the filming breached Mr Sim’s privacy. When it deals with privacy complaints, the Authority applies a set of seven privacy principles promulgated in an Advisory Opinion in 1996. On this occasion, it examines the complaint under principles (iii), (iv), (v) and (vi). The principles in full read:

(i) The protection of privacy includes protection against the public disclosure of private facts where the facts disclosed are highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.

(ii) The protection of privacy also protects against the public disclosure of some kinds of public facts. The "public" facts contemplated concern events (such as criminal behaviour) which have, in effect, become private again, for example through the passage of time. Nevertheless, the public disclosure of private facts will have to be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

(iii) There is a separate ground for a complaint, in addition to a complaint for the public disclosure of private and public facts, in factual situations involving the intentional interference (in the nature of prying) with an individual’s interest in solitude or seclusion. The intrusion must be offensive to the ordinary person but an individual’s interest in solitude or seclusion does not provide the basis for a privacy action for an individual to complain about being observed or followed or photographed in a public place.

(iv) The protection of privacy also protects against the disclosure of private facts to abuse, denigrate or ridicule personally an identifiable person. This principle is of particular relevance should a broadcaster use the airwaves to deal with a private dispute. However, the existence of a prior relationship between the broadcaster and the named individual is not an essential criterion.

(v) The protection of privacy includes the protection against the disclosure by the broadcaster, without consent, of the name and/or address and/or telephone number of an identifiable person. This principle does not apply to details which are public information, or to news and current affairs reporting, and is subject to the "public interest" defence in principle (vi).

(vi) Discussing the matter in the "public interest", defined as of legitimate concern or interest to the public, is a defence to an individual’s claim for privacy

(vii) An individual who consents to the invasion of his or her privacy, cannot later succeed in a claim for a breach of privacy.

The Authority notes that the footage of Mr Sim, filmed while he was participating in a service at St Paul’s as a member of the choir, was accompanied by a voiceover which identified him as the Chancellor of the Diocese. In determining whether that footage breached his privacy, the Authority observes that the programme had divulged facts about him. It stated that he was the Chancellor, and had assisted the Dean in the dismissal process, and that his aspiration to be Assistant Choirmaster had been thwarted by Dr White. This latter point the Authority has found to be patently untrue. It has dealt with this earlier in the decision. It concludes that the matter is better dealt with in that context rather than as an issue of privacy.

With reference to the other two matters, the Authority notes that they are both verifiable facts, the only area of contention being the extent to which Mr Sim assisted the Dean in the dismissal process. However, that too, has been dealt with above. The remaining fact is, therefore, that Mr Sim is the Chancellor of the Diocese. In disclosing this fact, the Authority then applies principle (iii) to determine whether Mr Sim’s interest in solitude or seclusion was threatened by the filming in the Cathedral. While it accepts that it was an unwelcome intrusion, the Authority is unable to conclude that it constituted a breach of Mr Sim’s privacy. It reaches this decision for two reasons. The first is that a church is a place of public worship and members of the public are welcome to attend at any time. Members of the congregation that day would have seen Mr Sim participating in the service as a part of the choir. The second reason is that as the Chancellor of the Diocese, Mr Sim has a public role, and it is legitimate to identify him in that context. The fairness of imputations made about him in that role are dealt with elsewhere.

Next the Authority examines the complaint under principle (v). It notes that Mr Sim was identified in the programme, but concludes that the exemption applies as the information that he was Chancellor of the Diocese was public information. It also considers that the public interest defence in principle (vi) is relevant. Accordingly, it declines to uphold Mr Sim’s privacy complaint.

Canon Somers-Edgar

Canon Somers-Edgar complained that his privacy was breached by the broadcast of excerpts from the videotape in the programme. He observed that he had not been informed that TV3 had possession of the tape or that it was intended to screen it. Furthermore, he contended, the tape had been selectively edited and broadcast in a way which made it appear directly relevant to Dr White’s dismissal. He argued that the programme contained an imputation that the choir was beset by homosexual predators, and that he was among them. He maintained that what was broadcast could in no way be said to represent his genuinely-held personal views.

TV3 began by referring to its "essential facts".

1.        On 3 May 1996 Canon Somers-Edgar alleged Dr White was sexually harassing choirboys.
2.        Dr White made an allegation against Dean Kirkpatrick to the Diocese that the Dean had made
           inappropriate and anti-social remarks about Samoan boys within earshot of the choir.
3.        Dean Kirkpatrick sacked Dr White.
4.        Dean Kirkpatrick acknowledged to TV3’s reporter that the fundamental reason for Dr White’s
           dismissal/sacking was the fact that Dr White sexually harassed choirboys.
5.        On 21 June 1998 Mr Tim Barnett, without prompting, told TV3’s reporter and cameraman that
           the real story at St Paul’s Cathedral was the sustained [or systematic] sexual abuse which
           had been going on in the choir but TV3 would never get to the bottom of the story because
           "members of the choir were in denial."
6.        Dean Kirkpatrick gave TV3 the names of three people to interview about Dr White because he
           said TV3 had not heard the full story.

TV3 contended that it was entitled to expose facts which were of legitimate public concern, including any apparent hypocrisy or bigotry within the Anglican Diocese, and any anti-social behaviour and immoral conduct by those who advocated a certain morality within the church. It observed that the video recorded a matter of fact, and argued that it was appropriate for the public to have seen Canon Somers-Edgar’s "immorality", including his "somewhat inebriated state". In addition, it noted, it included his apparent endorsement or enjoyment of sex with children. In TV3’s view, it was this conduct which the public had an interest in knowing about.

Finally, TV3 argued, in light of Canon Somers-Edgar’s "prominent and public" office, the use of the videotape was not only reasonable, but it had a duty to publish it.

Canon Somers-Edgar rejected TV3’s argument that the broadcast was defensible on the grounds that it was in the public interest to expose the conduct of an Anglican priest who was "a hypocrite and a bigot, indulges in anti-social behaviour and is immoral in his conduct." He argued that TV3 had adduced no credible or relevant evidence to support its contention concerning his character. He maintained that outrageous comments made at a private function were not evidence of bad behaviour per se, or were they of public interest.

Canon Somers-Edgar contended that TV3’s "essential facts" relating to the response were inaccurate, deliberately distorted and irrelevant. First, he explained the circumstances surrounding the events which generated both the 1993 and the 1996 warnings to Dr White, pointing out that on both occasions young men in the choir had complained to him about Dr White’s inappropriate behaviour. After consultation with two other Cathedral Canons he had informed the Bishop, who was then acting Dean of the Cathedral. She had appointed Dr Fitchett to investigate. At that time, Canon Somers-Edgar noted, his involvement in the disciplinary process had ceased.

He maintained that TV3’s "essential facts" 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were not relevant to his complaint.

Turning to the substance of TV3’s response, Canon Somers-Edgar said he did not dispute that the video recorded a matter of fact. However, he argued, it was grossly unfair and unjust to screen it, particularly without any attempt to obtain comment from him.

With respect to the response that he had made allegations of sexual harassment against Dr White, Canon Somers-Edgar repeated that the allegations were based on complaints made to him as a priest of the church and he had a duty to refer them to the appropriate authority. As for the charge of hypocrisy against him, he argued there was no conflict between his teaching and his practice.

Dealing with TV3’s contention that it was appropriate for the public to have seen his "immorality", Canon Somers-Edgar asked since when it had been considered immoral to be inebriated. He contended that his inebriated state was not a matter of legitimate public concern at all, and did not warrant being screened on national television.

With respect to the conclusion that he apparently enjoyed or endorsed sex with children, Canon Somers-Edgar questioned how it could be inferred from his obviously "black humour" remark that he approved of paedophilia or was a paedophile. He noted that no one at the party had taken the remark seriously or had been offended, but acknowledged that it could have been offensive to the public at large. The idea of sexual abuse of children appalled him, he wrote. Further, he argued, TV3 knew, or would have known from its inquiries that he had been celibate all his life and was of high moral character in all his actions.

Canon Somers-Edgar emphasised that the screening of the programme had caused him inordinate damage. He contended that TV3 must have realised the effect would be severe and had a duty to seek his comments before screening the videotape extracts.

TV3’s defence to publication of the video was that it had a duty to do so. Canon Somers-Edgar observed that in order to invoke the public interest exception to the privacy protection rule, there had to be a proper balancing of factors. The person concerned must be a public figure, he argued. In his view, it was ludicrous to suggest that the provincial vicar of an obscure parish who was one of several Canons in a provincial Cathedral was a public figure or a prominent churchman. He concluded that TV3 had no duty to publish the video, particularly in light of the damage it had caused.

In his final comment to the Authority Canon Somers-Edgar provided a detailed analysis of the unedited videotape. He noted that it lasted 30 minutes, and of that, 21 minutes comprised him being pursued and recorded. On 19 occasions, he wrote, he had attempted to avoid the camera; on 5 occasions, the operator and others attempted to inveigle him into making scandalous comments about the Bishop, the Dean and religion in general.

Canon Somers-Edgar reiterated that the full tape did not support the programme’s conclusion that he was a paedophile. Rather, he maintained, it had been culled to isolate the most improper remarks, strip them of their context and put a dishonest spin on them.

Next he referred to the reporter’s affidavit where he had expressed his opinion that the story could not have proceeded without the video. That view, wrote Canon Somers-Edgar, was dishonest in that it ignored the intrinsic circumstances revealed in the videotape itself.

On the basis of the contents of the reporter’s affidavit, Canon Somers-Edgar concluded that the reporter could not have honestly believed that the extract from the videotape was an admission of sexual abuse. Yet, Canon Somers-Edgar complained, the way in which it was presented implied that he was a paedophile. In concluding, he wrote:

Overall this affidavit has a horrible fascination in that it demonstrates how objectivity, common courtesy, responsibility to persons appearing in the programme, and proper journalistic standards all went by the board. The ruthlessness of their approach is not recognised even now. TV3 is still playing hardball with no acknowledgment by its Standards Committee that the complaints have any validity whatever.

Finally Canon Somers-Edgar reiterated that he was not a public person and that there was no impropriety in his actions. His only vulnerability, he acknowledged, was that he had made potentially offensive remarks among friends.

Canon Somers-Edgar sought damages, costs and a penalty against TV3 for what he described as its high-handed behaviour.

In its final comment, TV3 submitted that the videotape was relevant to its investigation into the wider issues concerning the resignation of Dr White, namely the acceptability of the behaviour of senior clergy members and what it called the hypocrisy surrounding the dismissal of Dr White, particularly as, it said, the Dean had stated that sexual harassment was a factor in the dismissal. TV3 argued that the conduct of members of the clergy was a legitimate matter for public concern and that they were accountable for standards of morality and conduct higher than that of the general populace. It added:

If the moral underpinning which provides the basis for the public’s confidence in and respect for the clergy is in fact a façade, this is a legitimate matter of public interest. The videotape went to the centre of this issue and, as such, it was entirely appropriate to include extracts of the Canon’s disturbing conduct in the programme.

TV3 further submitted that Canon Somers-Edgar’s behaviour was already public as his behaviour was "a very public display" seen by members of the choir and people attending the party. In any event, whether the conduct was public or private, it argued that its disclosure was justified on the basis that the facts were a matter of public interest or of legitimate concern to the public.

The existence of the videotape and its use in the programme is central to a number of the complaints. The Authority notes that it is the sole focus of Canon Somers-Edgar’s privacy complaint.

At the outset, the Authority acknowledges that TV3 was entitled to expose facts of public concern, including instances of anti-social behaviour and immoral conduct among people espousing high moral standards in the community. In its assessment of this privacy complaint, the Authority applies privacy principles (i), (iii) and (iv).

Privacy principle (i) protects against the disclosure of private facts where those facts are highly offensive and objectionable to the reasonable person. The Authority’s first task is to ascertain whether the facts disclosed were private facts. It notes that the videotape was recorded at a private function, without Canon Somers-Edgar’s permission, and that it was filmed for private purposes, and not for broadcast. Therefore, it concludes, the facts revealed on the videotape were private facts, insofar as they recorded Canon Somers-Edgar’s behaviour at a private function and were filmed by a privately-owned video camera. For a breach of the principle to occur, the facts disclosed must be highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person. The Authority concludes unequivocally that that threshold was met. In its view, the disclosure of the inebriated Canon’s behaviour at the party was highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person and a breach of principle (i).

Next the Authority examines the complaint in relation to privacy principle (iii). It notes that the private fact of the Canon’s inebriated state was publicly disclosed by the broadcast of the footage. More importantly, in relation to this principle, it notes that the film was taken at a private venue and that Canon Somers-Edgar was relentlessly pursued throughout the evening to perform for the camera. The Authority concludes that his interest in solitude or seclusion was intruded upon in a manner which was offensive to the ordinary person. It concludes that privacy principle (iii) was breached.

The Authority then turns to privacy principle (iv), which protects against the disclosure of private facts to ridicule an individual. That private facts were disclosed is in no doubt. The Authority also concludes that the purpose of including the videotape footage was to expose Canon Somers-Edgar to public opprobrium which was tantamount to ridicule. It finds that principle (iv) is also breached.

A defence to a breach of privacy is that the matters revealed are in the public interest. No such public interest justifies the broadcast of a film made at a private function in circumstances such as those outlined, the Authority concludes. It rejects TV3’s argument that Canon Somers-Edgar was a public figure, noting that he held no public office but was simply an employee of the Diocese. As such, he was a man who could be expected to have a minimal public profile.

In reaching its decision that Canon Somers-Edgar’s privacy was breached, the Authority reiterates that it has seen the full tape from which the footage broadcast was taken. It concludes that there was no justification or public interest in showing Canon Somers-Edgar inebriated at a private party among people he believed to be friends.

Robert Rothel

In Mr Rothel’s complaint that his privacy was breached, he referred to the following matters:

1.    Allegations of improper conduct

Mr Rothel denied the allegations that he had sexually assaulted a young man some years previously and had applied for priesthood but had been rejected. He complained that he had been given no opportunity to respond to these allegations.

TV3 responded first that Mr Peyroux’s allegations were unequivocal and that he was one of two choir members who had been sexually "interfered with" by Mr Rothel. It said it accepted that the allegation was true. TV3 denied that it had alleged that Mr Rothel had applied for the priesthood and had been rejected, pointing to the transcript of the programme where it stated:

He’s a divinity student, the word is the Bishop has told him he’ll never be ordained.

With respect to the implication regarding the nature of Mr Rothel’s relationship with the Dean, TV3 did not respond to this complaint, stating that it had no obligation to do so. For the record, it rejected the allegation that the imputation arose at all.

TV3 contended that as Mr Rothel had refused to be interviewed, it had published the allegations by Mr Peyroux. It argued that the disclosure was in the interest of the public.

In his response to the Authority, Mr Rothel argued that TV3 had appeared to rely on the second allegation (by the anonymous man) to give credibility to the first one. He noted that there was a presumption against the use of similar fact evidence in court. Mr Rothel advised that he had been able to identify the anonymous person. In his view, there was obvious collusion between him and Damian Peyroux.

Mr Rothel contended that in fact neither of the incidents was truthfully reported. As he stated in his affidavit, the encounter with Damian Peyroux involved considerably more sexual contact than Mr Peyroux had admitted and was a consensual encounter between two friends on an equal footing. Subsequently, Mr Rothel deposed, there was open acknowledgment of the incident by both himself and Damian Peyroux, and the two remained on friendly terms for a considerable period afterwards.

With respect to the reports of the anonymous man, Mr Rothel acknowledged that during a period when he was friendly with the family he would stay with them overnight. On one occasion he did share a double water bed with the anonymous man, who was aged 16 at the time. He denied that any contact took place and in particular that any sexual contact occurred. In his view, the anonymous man’s account was simply not credible.

There are two matters complained about here. The first concerns the allegations made about Mr Rothel’s sexual behaviour. These allegations were, the Authority notes, based on the accounts by Damian Peyroux and the anonymous man of sexual advances made towards them by Mr Rothel. With respect to the incident concerning Damian Peyroux, the Authority observes that he and Mr Rothel were friends in the choir, and that Mr Peyroux had elected to spend a weekend with Mr Rothel and another gay man intending to have a "fun" time. There are two views of what occurred on that weekend. Mr Peyroux’s account on the programme indicated that nothing of substance had happened as he was able to protect himself from Mr Rothel’s advances, while Mr Rothel’s version was that a consensual sexual encounter occurred. While the Authority prefers Mr Rothel’s account, for reasons indicated earlier, whichever account is preferred, there is no evidence that any illegal activity took place.

With respect to the incident concerning the anonymous man, the Authority expresses its concern about the integrity of the anonymous man’s testimony, and the credibility of the story. However, even if it were plausible, again it notes that the behaviour described would not appear to have been illegal and was never complained about at the time. More importantly, it does not accept that those incidents warrant describing Mr Rothel as a sexual predator. The Authority finds that the private facts disclosed about Mr Rothel’s sexual behaviour were offensive and objectionable to the reasonable person and in breach of privacy principle (i), particularly as no legitimate public interest was served by the disclosure.

The second matter is the complaint that Mr Rothel’s privacy was breached because the programme stated that he aspired to be a priest but that the Bishop had told him he would never be ordained. The Authority prefers not to treat this as a privacy issue. In the event, it finds that it was a reasonable assumption to make that a person engaged in theological study and actively involved in church activities could wish to become a priest himself. Although the Bishop’s view was attributed ("word is"), the Authority notes that the Bishop deposed in her affidavit that she had not expressed a view to Mr Rothel as to his suitability for ordination. It takes this into consideration in its overall assessment of fairness.
2.    Relationship with the Dean

Mr Rothel also complained about the programme’s implication that he was engaged in a sexual relationship with the Dean and that as a result of this relationship he was acting as interim conductor of the Cathedral Singers.

TV3 responded that it had no obligation to respond to this aspect of the complaint. It asserted that the Authority had no jurisdiction to decide what imputations arose in a television programme. Any issue concerning imputations was a matter for the courts to determine in defamation proceedings and, it noted, no such proceedings had been brought. TV3 rejected the allegation that the imputation arose at all.

Mr Rothel responded that TV3 was wrong on both counts. He maintained that the imputation was completely clear. Further, he argued, it was nonsense to suggest that the matter was not within the jurisdiction of the Authority.

Again, the Authority finds that this part of the complaint is more appropriately addressed as an issue of fairness. It therefore declines to determine it as a matter of privacy. It has dealt with the matter under fairness above.

3.    Identification

Mr Rothel advised that he had consented to an interview with the reporter regarding the dismissal of Dr White on the condition that he was not prepared to be identified or to appear on camera. The discussion, he noted, concerned Dr White’s behaviour with members of the choir. However, none of this material was used in the programme. At the conclusion of the interview, Mr Rothel was filmed leaving the place where his meeting took place, without his knowledge or consent. He was also filmed while conducting the Cathedral Singers during a service at the Cathedral and, he noted, the shot was used in the programme to visually identify him with the allegations made about him.

TV3 responded that it had never agreed to give Mr Rothel anonymity. It noted that Mr Rothel had sought agreement to his anonymity, but no consent or undertaking had ever been given. TV3 asserted that it would never have been given, as Mr Rothel was one of those whose misconduct had been the focus of TV3’s scrutiny of events relating to the choir.

Mr Rothel swore in his affidavit that he had agreed to speak to TV3 only if his identity was protected. He stated that he had been given an assurance that in agreeing to speak to TV3 he was in control of whether he would be identified on the programme. In addition, Mr Rothel said he had also made it clear that he did not wish to go on camera. TV3 had nevertheless filmed him on two occasions without his knowledge or consent. The filming in the Cathedral, he contended, was in breach of the agreement with the Dean, who had given permission to film within the Cathedral provided that it was restricted to general shots of the Cathedral and general shots of the Dean preaching. In Mr Rothel’s view, TV3’s assertion that the restriction applied only to the filming of the morning service was illogical. In any event, he noted, he had been filmed at both services, in breach of the agreement which TV3 said it had assented to.

Mr Rothel denied that he had refused to be interviewed by 20/20. It was entirely false for TV3 to make that claim, he wrote, as his refusal related only to appearing on camera to answer allegations against him. Those allegations were not put to him in any other way, he noted.

The reporter in his affidavit observed that one of the issues which was central to the complaint of privacy was the nature of the undertaking given to Mr Rothel prior, during and after the conversation at the motel. The reporter swore:

The undertaking I gave to Mr Rothel was that he could speak to us informally and off the record about his allegations concerning Dr White. No other undertaking was given.

At the end of the conversation, the reporter said that he asked Mr Rothel if he would be willing to repeat his comments on camera. Mr Rothel said that he would only do so if he was not identified. The reporter’s affidavit continued:

I again confirmed what he told us in the motel room was off the record. I ultimately decided what he said was nonsense and was not prepared to continue the undertaking I had given him. It was a difficult decision to make but later became highly relevant.

The reporter observed that there were other matters concerning Mr Rothel that he and the crew were investigating concurrently. In his view, TV3 was justified in secretly filming Mr Rothel.

The affidavit continued:

With regard to the undertaking given to Mr Rothel, I realised that we were walking a difficult ethical tight rope.

On the one hand, the reporter observed, he was obliged to investigate the allegation by Mr Rothel against Dr White, but on the other hand he had uncovered "damning evidence about Mr Rothel’s behaviour". Even in hindsight, he contended, they could not have dealt with this aspect of the documentary differently.

The reporter swore in his affidavit that permission was given to film the morning service in the Cathedral on two conditions – that they not film parishioners, and that the camera not be intrusive. He said he had asked the Dean if they could roam more at the evening service to take a wider variety of shots, and the Dean had said that was fine. The reporter contended it was quite incorrect to say that he had agreed to focus exclusively on the Dean and that the agreed terms were breached by the filming of Mr Rothel, Diccon Sim and Canon Somers-Edgar. He declared that no restrictions had been made for the evening service. Further, he argued, the Dean had raised no objections to the filming, having watched the camera crew reposition for various shots of different people during the course of the service.

The integrity of the reporter’s undertaking to Mr Rothel that he would not identify him in the programme is a matter which is considered above in the discussion under fairness. The Authority notes that his affidavit contradicts the argument advanced by TV3. The breach of that undertaking is a factor which the Authority takes into account in its overall assessment of the programme’s deficiencies. It finds no privacy issue raised here.

With respect to the undertaking about filming in the Cathedral, the Authority refers to its discussion of this point above and its conclusion that the agreement reached was ambiguous at best. As for Mr Rothel’s being filmed while leaving an informal interview with TV3, when he had not consented to being filmed, the Authority takes the view that he was filmed in a public place, and that this is a sufficient answer to this part of his complaint.

4.    Effects of programme

Mr Rothel advised that as a result of the broadcast of the programme, he had been obliged to leave Dunedin, despite his university commitments. He argued that no vindication through the complaints process, or in defamation, could hope to reverse the damage done to his reputation or his career.

Mr Rothel sought rulings upholding his complaints, compensation to the maximum allowable, penalties against TV3 and reimbursement of his costs.

The Authority acknowledges these points and considers them when it makes its overall assessment of the effects of the programme on the individuals involved.

Tim Barnett

Mr Barnett complained that the broadcast breached the privacy of Canon Somers-Edgar and Robert Rothel.

He complained that the use of the private video footage of the "somewhat inebriated" Canon Somers-Edgar constituted a breach of privacy principles (i) and (ii).

In addition, he contended that the treatment of Robert Rothel in the programme was in breach of privacy principles (iii) and (iv). Mr Barnett pointed out that Mr Rothel’s name had been provided to the reporter on the basis that he would supply relevant information in confidence and would not be filmed. In fact, he was – without his knowledge – filmed getting into a car, and his name was used repeatedly.

Mr Barnett also argued that the release of Robert Rothel’s name was not in the public interest and that privacy principle (v) was breached. In his view, Mr Rothel should be compensated for the harm generated by the broadcast.

In its response to the Authority, TV3 began by stating that it was entitled to expose facts which were of legitimate public concern, including "any apparent hypocrisy existing in the Anglican Diocese in Dunedin." It then listed what it described as "the essential facts":

1.        On 3 May 1996, Canon Somers-Edgar alleged Dr White was sexually harassing choir boys.
2.        Dr White made an allegation against the Dean to the Diocese that the Dean had made
           inappropriate and anti-social remarks about Samoan boys within earshot of the choir.
3.        The Dean sacked Dr White.
4.        The Dean acknowledged to TV3’s reporter that the fundamental reason for the dismissal was
           that Dr White sexually harassed choir boys.
5.        The Dean stated to TV3’s reporter that the "real victim" was Robert Rothel.
6.        On 21 June 1998, Tim Barnett, without prompting, told TV3’s reporter that the real story
           at St Paul’s was the sustained [or systematic] sexual abuse which had been going on in the
           choir, but TV3 would never get to the bottom of the story because "members of the choir were
           in denial."
7.        The Dean gave TV3 the names of three people to interview about Dr White because he said
           TV3 had not heard the full story.
8.        Two independent sources had confirmed they had each been sexually interfered with by
           Mr Rothel.

Turning first to the videotape and the footage of Canon Somers-Edgar, TV3 argued (as in response to Canon Somers-Edgar’s complaint) that it was appropriate for the public to have seen the "immorality" of his behaviour, including his "somewhat inebriated state". The video also included, TV3 argued, an apparent endorsement of enjoyment of sex with children.

TV3 argued that the programme’s use of the videotape was a straightforward matter of fact and record which highlighted what it called the irony of the allegations against Dr White. In addition, TV3 continued, it highlighted "other misconduct by those holding positions of responsibility within St Paul’s Cathedral."

TV3 then noted that it had been made clear that the video was taken at a private function, and that it was taken by members of a family involved in a dispute with the church and who supported Dr White. Given Canon Somers-Edgar’s public office, TV3 argued that the use of the videotape was not only reasonable, but that it had a duty to publish it.

With respect to the footage of Mr Rothel, TV3 began by stating that it had not agreed to give Mr Rothel anonymity. It said it would never have done so in view of the information it possessed about his sexual conduct. As for its naming of Mr Rothel, TV3 stated that it did not consider it was appropriate to sweep under the carpet the fact that a man had sexually interfered with another man. It added that another source had confirmed that he, too, had been sexually interfered with by Mr Rothel, and that justified TV3’s description of his sexual conduct as predatory. The filming of Mr Rothel, TV3 contended, was in a public place, and therefore there could be no breach of his privacy.

TV3 concluded that there had been no breaches of Canon Somers-Edgar’s or Robert Rothel’s privacy, as the facts disclosed by TV3 were matters about which the public had a legitimate concern. It therefore declined to uphold the complaint.

In his response to the Authority Mr Barnett rejected TV3’s argument that the public interest defence applied. He said he did not believe the public interest "properly encompasses such grubby and unreliable stories." Those named were not given the right to reply to the allegations, he wrote. He also made the point that matters which had been presented by TV3 as unassailable fact were actually matters in dispute.

The Authority’s findings on this complaint accord with the conclusions it has drawn in relation to the individual privacy complaints. It notes once again that TV3’s argument as to the anonymity requested by Mr Rothel is contradicted by the reporter’s affidavit, which acknowledges that such an agreement had existed, and had been rescinded without his knowledge. In addition, Mr Barnett cited the naming of Mr Rothel without his consent as being a breach of his privacy. The Authority notes here the exemption in privacy principle (v) relating to news and current affairs reporting, which it considers to be apposite. As no other new matters are traversed, it makes no additional findings.

Conclusion

In its final comment, TV3 submitted that the focus of the programme was the disparity between expected and acceptable standards of behaviour from members of the clergy, and the apparent hypocrisy involved in the grounds for the termination of Dr White’s employment as choirmaster. The main theme, it argued, was established in the introduction when it asked: "What is acceptable behaviour for the men of God?" The programme then went on to examine the evidence which questioned the acceptability of the behaviour of clergy and choir members. TV3 submitted that it had evidence of inappropriate sexual comments made by those involved in Dr White’s dismissal; that the allegations which formed the basis of a threat to dismiss Dr White had never in fact been made, and the threat itself had been withdrawn; that sexual assaults had been made by Mr Rothel; and that the allegations of sexual misconduct against Dr White were false. TV3 maintained that adequate opportunity had been given to key people to make relevant contributions to the issues under discussion. It absolutely rejected the allegation that the programme was a one-sided analysis, arguing that it had presented conflicting evidence and diametrically opposed opinions in a balanced manner.

The programme, the Authority notes, was predicated on the thesis that Dr White’s dismissal was unjustified. Evidence to support that view came from Dr White himself, and from his supporters. In the process, it appears to the Authority that TV3 had, perhaps unwittingly, been enlisted to wage a campaign on Dr White’s behalf against the Diocesan authorities. In espousing that role, it neglected to evaluate critically the allegations made against Cathedral officers, or to challenge or verify the recollections and opinions of Dr White and his supporters. What the programme failed to convey was that Dr White was dismissed not only for the alleged sexual misconduct but also because of long-standing difficulties in relation to the church authorities to whom he was accountable.

As recounted above, the Authority finds that the programme contained a number of inaccuracies, did not deal fairly with officials and others in the Church, and lacked balance. It accepts the complainants’ allegation that the damage caused to the Church and to its officials is immeasurable.

As the Authority has already observed, the inclusion of the private party footage of Canon Somers-Edgar was a crucial decision made by TV3. The Authority has noted that on the reporter’s own admission, it was TV3’s view almost from the outset that there would be no programme if the video were not to be used. That, in the Authority’s view, appears to have been a decisive factor in the evolution of the programme, which from that point onward would seem to have been tailored to justify the film’s inclusion. That decision had serious consequences for Canon Somers-Edgar who was in fact involved only in a peripheral way with Dr White’s dismissal.

Individuals such as Canon Somers-Edgar who did not support Dr White’s cause were denied the opportunity to explain their position, either on the programme or as part of background research. Canon Somers-Edgar was not told that the party film would be included in the programme for fear – by the reporter’s own admission – that he would invoke legal remedies. This, in the Authority’s view, was an acknowledgment by TV3 that its chosen course of action would not withstand scrutiny.

The consequence of this approach, denying those accused of partisan behaviour the right to even hear what they were accused of, was a denial of natural justice. Not only did it damage those individuals personally in a way that could not be justified on any view of it, it also denied TV3 itself the ability to evaluate objectively the competing perspectives on the story. The course of action adopted by TV3 was, then, in the Authority’s view, an indefensible breach of professional ethics and the practice of responsible journalism.

 

For the reasons given above, the Authority upholds the complaints that the programme "Sex Lies and Videotape" broadcast by TV3 Network Services Ltd on 20/20 on 28 June 1998 breached standards G1, G4, G6 and G19 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. It also upholds the complaints from Mr Rothel and Canon Somers-Edgar that their privacy was breached in contravention of s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, and the complaint from Mr Barnett that Mr Rothel’s and Canon Somers-Edgar’s privacy was breached.

The Authority declines to uphold any other aspect of the complaints.

The Authority concludes that as the programme’s deficiencies are numerous and serious, penalties against the broadcaster are warranted. It therefore invited submissions from the parties as to penalty, as provided in sections 13 and 16 of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

First, the Authority notes that it received a request from TV3’s solicitors that it convene to hear submissions by counsel in person. After careful consideration of that request, the Authority has concluded that oral submissions would not assist it further. It has received submissions from all of the complainants, and notes that the submissions from counsel for TV3, counsel for the Dean and Diocese, counsel for Canon Somers-Edgar and counsel for Mr Rothel have comprehensively traversed the legal and policy issues which the Authority is bound to consider when it makes its determination on the quantum of penalty to be ordered. Accordingly, it declines the request for an oral hearing on the matter of penalty.

In reaching its decision on penalty, the Authority has considered the range of penalties available to it under the Broadcasting Act 1989, the seriousness of the breaches and the effects on the Diocese and individuals involved. It has also taken into account TV3’s somewhat intransigent approach in its dealings with the complaints which, in the Authority’s view, has contributed to the length of time which it has taken for the matters to be resolved. The Authority acknowledges that the issues raised have been complex and detailed, and records that for it also the matter has involved considerable time, effort and resources.

Orders

The Authority makes the following orders under s.13 and s.16 of the Broadcasting Act 1989:

1.    Pursuant to s.13(1)(a) of the Act, the Authority orders TV3 Network Services Ltd to publish a statement approved by the Authority. That statement shall:

  • be broadcast on Sunday 10 October 1999 (or such other date approved by the Authority) at 6.00pm prior to TV3’s evening news programme and again at 8.30pm, at the conclusion of 20/20;
  • be read by a presenter and appear in writing on the screen;
  • explain that TV3 has been ordered to make the statement as a result of the Broadcasting Standards;
  • Authority’s decision to uphold complaints about "Sex, Lies and Videotape" broadcast on 28 June 1998;
  • explain that TV3 has been ordered to refrain from broadcasting advertising programmes between 6.00pm and 8.30pm on Sunday 10 October 1999 (or such other date approved by the Authority); and
  • summarise the Authority’s decision on the complaints.

2.    Pursuant to s.13(1)(b)(ii) of the Act, the Authority orders TV3 Network Services Ltd to refrain from broadcasting advertising programmes on TV3 on Sunday 10 October 1999 (or such other date approved by the Authority) between 6.00pm and 8.30pm.

3.    Pursuant to s.13(1)(d) of the Act, the Authority orders TV3 Network Services Ltd to pay Canon Somers-Edgar and Mr Rothel each the sum of $5,000.00 as compensation for breaches of their privacy within one month of the date of this Decision.

4.    Pursuant to s.16(1) of the Act, the Authority has the power to order TV3 Network Services Ltd to pay  such costs and expenses as are reasonable. The Authority has received submissions from counsel for the Diocese and the Dean, Canon Somers-Edgar and Mr Rothel as to actual legal costs incurred. In reaching its decision on quantum, the Authority advises that its order reflects the manner in which TV3 responded to the complaints. Factors it has considered include TV3’s failure to consider each of the complaints separately and the omnibus approach taken by TV3 in its responses which has resulted in a duplication of effort and resources. It orders TV3 to pay the sum of $45,000.00 to the Diocese and the Dean; the sum of $17,500.00 to Canon Somers-Edgar; and the sum of $12,500.00 to Mr Rothel each within one month of the date of this Decision.

5.    Pursuant to s.16(4) of the Act, the Authority orders TV3 Network Services Ltd to pay costs to the Crown in the amount of $5,000.00 in relation to each of the complaints made by the Diocese and the Dean, Canon Somers-Edgar and Mr Rothel, a total sum of $15,000.00, within one month of the date of this Decision.

These orders shall be enforceable in the Wellington High Court or District Court as appropriate.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Sam Maling
Chairperson
9 September 1999

Appendix I

1.    The Diocese of Dunedin’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 24 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 1 September 1998

3.    The Diocese’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 29 September 1998

4.     TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    TV3’s letter to the Authority – 19 February 1999

6.    TV3’s letter to the Authority – 23 February 1999 plus additional documents

7.    The Diocese’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 2 March 1999

8.    The Diocese’s Barrister’s letter to the Authority – 3 March 1999

9.    The Diocese’s Barrister’s letter to the Authority – 5 March 1999

10.  TV3’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 24 March 1999

11.  The Diocese’s Response to the 24 March letter – 29 March 1999

12.  TV3’s Solicitors’ Letter to the Authority – 31 March 1999

13.  The Diocese’s Final Comment – 30 March 1999

14.  TV3’s Letter to the Authority regarding a field tape – 31 March 1999

15.  TV3’s Solicitors’ Letter to the Authority – 8 April 1999

16.  The Diocese’s Solicitors’ Response regarding the field tape – 12 April 1999

17.  The Diocese’s Solicitors’ Letter to the Authority – 13 April 1999

18.  TV3’s Solicitors’ Letter to the Authority – 14 April 1999

19.  TV3’s Solicitors’ Letter to the Authority – 19 April 1999 and accompanying affidavit

20.  TV3’s Solicitors’ Submissions to the Authority – 27 April 1999

21.  The Diocese’s Solicitor’s Further Submissions – 14 May 1999

22.  The Diocese’s Solicitor’s Further Submissions – 8 July 1999

23.  The Diocese’s Solicitor’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

24.  TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

25.  The Diocese’s Solicitor’s Further Comment – 25 August 1999

Appendix II

1.    The Very Reverend Jonathan Kirkpatrick’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd
        – 22 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 1 September 1998

3.    The Dean’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 29 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    TV3’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 24 March 1999

6.    The Dean’s Final Comment – 30 March 1999

7.    TV3’s Solicitor’s Submissions to the Authority – 27 April 1999

8.    The Dean’s Solicitor’s Submissions – 14 May 1999

9.    The Dean’s Solicitor’s Further Submissions – 8 July 1999

10.  The Dean’s Solicitor’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

11.  TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

12.  The Dean’s Solicitor’s Further Comment – 25 August 1999

Privacy Complaint

1.   The Very Reverend Jonathan Kirkpatrick’s Complaint to the Broadcasting
      Standards Authority – 22 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 17 August 1998

Appendix III

1.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s Complaint through his Solicitors to the Broadcasting
       Standards Authority – 13 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 1 September 1998

3.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s Solicitor’s Final Comment – 23 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Further Response – 8 December 1998

5.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s Solicitor’s Further Response – 4 February 1999

6.    TV3’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 24 March 1999

7.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s Solicitor’s Final Comment – 25 March 1999

8.    Canon Somers-Edgar’s Solicitor’s Response to the 24 March letter– 29 March 1999

9.    TV3’s Submission to the Authority – 27 April 1999

10.  Canon Somers-Edgar’s Solicitor’s Submission in response – 14 May 1999

11.  Canon Somers-Edgar’s Submission on Penalty – 24 August 1999

12.  TV3’s Submission on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix IV

1.    Tim Barnett’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 27 July 1998

2.    Mr Barnett’s Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 24 July 1998

3.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaints – 1 September 1998

4.    Mr Barnett’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 29 September 1998

5.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

6.    Mr Barnett’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

7.    TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix V

1.    Robert Rothel’s Complaint through his Solicitors to TV3 Network Services Ltd
       – 15 July 1998

2.    Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority

       – 15 July 1998

3.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaints – 1 September 1998

4.    Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority
       – 29 September 1998

5.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

6.    Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Final Comment – 24 March 1999

7.    TV3’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 24 March 1999

8.    Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Response to the 24 March letter – 25 March 1999

9.    Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Further Comment – 14 April 1999

10.  Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Further Comment – 20 April 1999

11.  TV3’s Submission on the Complaints – 28 April 1999

12.  Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Further Comment – 11 May 1999

13.  Mr Rothel’s Solicitor’s Submission on Penalty – 24 August 1999

14.  TV3’s Submission on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix VI

1.    R J M Sim’s Complaint to TV3 – received 13 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 1 September 1998

3.    Mr Sim’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 29 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    TV3’s Solicitors’ letter to the Authority – 24 March 1999

6.    Mr Sim’s Final Comment – 26 March 1999

7.    Mr Sim’s Response to the 24 March letter – 31 March 1999

8.    Mr Sim’s Further Comment – 14 May 1999

9.    Mr Sim’s Submissions on Penalty – 23 August 1999

Privacy Complaint

1.    R J M Sim’s Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – received 13 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 17 August 1998

3.    Mr Sim’s Final Comment – 30 September 1998

Appendix VII

1.    Nicholas Greet’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 7 July 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 18 August 1998

3.    Mr Greet’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 8 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    Mr Greet’s Final Comment – 23 January 1999

6.    Mr Greet’s Submissions on Penalty – 23 August 1999

7.    TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix VIII

1.    G D Fraser’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 30 June 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 14 August 1998

3.    Mrs Fraser’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 7 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    Mrs Fraser’s Final Comment – 20 January 1999

6.    Mrs Fraser’s Submissions on Penalty – 23 August 1999

7.    TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix IX

1.    R J Stevenson’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 30 June 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 14 August 1998

3.    Mr Stevenson’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 8 September 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    Mr Stevenson’s Final Comment – 18 January 1999

6.    Mr Stevenson’s Submissions on Penalty – 23 August 1999

7.    TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999

Appendix X

1.    Mr Cowan’s Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 29 June 1998

2.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 14 August 1998

3.    Mr Cowan’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 18 August 1998

4.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 8 December 1998

5.    Mr Cowan’s Final Comment – 15 January 1999

6.    Mr Cowan’s Submissions on Penalty – 22 August 1999

7.    TV3’s Submissions on Penalty – 24 August 1999