The Press and the People: … Annual Report of the Press Council, Volume 26
Press Council, 1982
Spy’s complaint not upheld
A complaint by convicted spy Geoffrey Prime that the News Of The World made false allegations against him and declined to correct them was rejected.
Alex Marunchak had said Mr Prime, jailed for 38 years, was originally arrested for sexual offences against young girls. He had made many espionage contacts through a child-sex network in Britain and America. Police feared he may have used these to blackmail prominent people in all walks of life.
Using the alias Jacques DuGay he had joined NAMBLA. a North American association closely linked with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in Britain. US police confirmed he contacted other perverts through NAMBLA and may have blackmailed top people into supplying information. Security chiefs feared the KGB would continue blackmailing his contacts.
Mr Prime’s solicitors told the editor it was untrue that Mr Prime belonged to or had contact with NAMBLA or PIE, that he blackmailed people or gave the KGB information for blackmailing, that he had espionage contacts, and that he ever used the name Jacques DuGay. They asked for a published retraction.
Mr Henry Douglas, legal manager, replied that following a tip-off by a Scotland Yard contact the News Of The World spoke to other police in Los Angeles and New Jersey and learnt that after police raids on NAMBLA members’ homes Mr Prime’s name and alias were very familiar to them in a list of UK paedophiles. The newspaper carefully checked with British police sources and would not publish a retraction.
Adjudication: The News Of The World has told the complainant’s solicitors and the Press Council of the steps it took to verify with American and British sources the allegations it published about the complainant Mr Geoffrey Prime, following his conviction. In the Press Council’s view the newspaper did as much research as it could before publishing its detailed story. Despite their view that the allegations about Mr Prime were fanciful and inconsistent with the known facts, his solicitors have failed to satisfy the Press Council that the allegations were false. The complaint against the News Of The World is, therefore, not upheld. (U9823-1983).