Derby City Council

Ex-Cllr Banwait withdraws complaint against Derby News – the facts speak for themselves.

On 19th June, Ranjit Banwait contacted IMPRESS ( press regulator) formally complaining about the article I’d written on 25th May – “Ranjit Banwait takes legal proceedings to over-turn election result” The article related to the petition that he’d served against UKIP Councillor, Paul Bettany – the person who unseated him at the May 3rd elections.

The grounds for his complaint against me:

“The article has misrepresented and distorted the facts concerning the Complainant’s (Banwait) address and the petition. The publisher is not merely partisan, but consistently biased in reporting.”

“The Complainant, believes the article has misrepresented and distorted the facts, implying he does not live in Alvaston”

His only submitted evidence was an email he’d sent on 25th April to the Acting Chief Executive, Christine Durrant, complaining about a UKIP leaflet.

“…UKIP say I don’t live in Alvaston when I do. Please see attached a map of Alvaston and my street which is in Alvaston. In fact my Councillors are Alvaston Councillors”

[Note: Not evidence that he lives in the Alvaston district]

He then quoted this extract from my article:

In brief:

  • Banwait lives on Magellan Way, in Wilmorton. This is a recognised district within Derby. It is used as his official postal address on his nomination papers/ electoral roll.
  • Alvaston is a separate district within Derby, separate for postal purposes.
  • Alvaston electoral ward is a different area which extends further into the City and includes Wilmorton – it’s based on a population size.
  • Banwait was seeking re-election to the Boulton Ward which comprises some of Alvaston district and Allenton.
  • Banwait has always referred to his postal address as Alvaston, despite his declaration on the nomination papers being in Wilmorton.

In response, Mr Banwait was invited to:

  1. Forward the response  that Christine Durrant made ( if one was sent) to his email of 25th April.
  2. Advise specifically, against each point, in what way it was considered to have “misrepresented and distorted” the facts
  3. Substantiate, with facts, his claim that my reporting is “consistently biased”

He then contacted IMPRESS to request that the complaint be deferred until after the Court case against the UKIP Councillor (not involving myself, at all)

Dear Sir/Madame – Please can you put this case on hold due to the following (my complaint about Derby News articles): As an election petition has been served regarding the issue about my address which is the basis of my compliant, the outcome of this court action will determine the facts about the matter and will have a bearing on my complaint. The court case is week of 19th November. I have copied in my solicitor.

As his complaint was originally made in the full knowledge of the Court Case, IMPRESS advised Mr Banwait that he should either continue with the complaint, now, or withdraw it. It was considered that he should have been aware of the “facts”, as he saw them, before making the complaint and therefore be capable of presenting them.

He chose to withdraw the complaint.

Comment

It is evident that he hadn’t thought this complaint through; it can only be assumed that he didn’t expect to have to provide detail to substantiate his position. He hadn’t considered how this would impact on the Court case which he had, previously, initiated.

The response to Mr Banwait, from IMPRESS, stated:

The Publisher (Derby News) considers this complaint is frivolous and vexatious.

The Publisher feels he has reported clear objective facts about where the Complainant lives,
and that the Complainant has misunderstood the difference between a parish district and an electoral ward.

He is fighting against a “tide of logic” on this issue. This stubbornness in the face of the simple reality of geography in Derby is very illuminating.

The facts do speak for themselves.

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