Deadline reporter cleared of interview impersonation charge

Lauren Crooks, a reporter with Scottish press agency Deadline, has been cleared of impersonating a court official to gain an interview.

Crooks was cleared of the charge on Friday after a year spent fighting the allegation and eight court appearances, the agency has said in a press release.

The reporter was arrested in August 2007 following an interview with an assault victim, whose case she had been covering at Edinburgh’s Sheriff Court.

Despite giving out her business card, the interviewee contacted police to say they had only agreed to the interview because Crooks she said she was a court official.

Crooks said she ‘couldn’t have been any clearer’ in making her position as a reporter known during the interview, even making requests for photographs to be set up for a Sunday newspaper

“I have spent 20 years in the Scottish media and everyone I have spoken to has expressed nothing but disbelief that this should have happened at all. I dread to think how much this ludicrous case has cost the taxpayer in wasted police, procurator fiscal and court time,” said Scott Douglas, founder of Deadline, in the release.

“Even more sinister is why a police force –  already under fire for its deliberate erosion of media relations – went to such lengths to pursue a reporter and an agency with an unblemished reputation on a case which didn’t stand up to even the most basic scrutiny.”

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