10:34AM, Friday 27 May 2016
Express stories on a benefit fraudster and a man convicted of a causing the death of an elderly woman have been removed from Google search results.
The controversial ‘right to be forgotten’ rule has reared its ugly head once again and we were this week informed, without explanation, that two of our stories were being removed from certain search results.
Ironically, one of the stories taken down is about Google’s decision to remove an article on benefit cheat Tracy Asbery, who received more than £23,000 in overpayments.
The Express argued then, as it does now, that there is a clear public interest in it remaining a visible part of Google’s search results.
Asbery, who was 43 and lived in Wyatt Road, Windsor, at the time the story was published on December 7, 2011, admitted claiming housing benefits despite having £26,200 in an undeclared savings account when her case went before magistrates in November 2011.
She was told to pay compensation of £5,000, costs of £300 and was given a three-year conditional discharge.
The Express has also been informed a separate story on Tajinder Jagdev, who was sentenced for causing the death of 80-year-old Josie Daly by careless driving on March 14, 2011, has been removed from certain search results.
Jagdev, who was 40 and lived in Home Farm Way, Stoke Poges, at the time of the story, was given a 12-month community order, a 28 day curfew where he will be electronically tagged from 8pm-6am, and 160 hours of unpaid work for the community.
Jagdev was also disqualified from driving for 12 months.
Both articles were removed under the controversial ‘right to be forgotten’ rule, introduced in May 2014 after a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union which gave individuals the right to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them if they are ‘inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive’.
This rule applies to neither of these cases.
Asbery’s case involves an individual who dishonestly claimed thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money, while Jagdev’s conviction involved an incident which led to the tragic death of a popular great grandmother from Britwell.
There is a clear public interest in these stories remaining part of Google search results.
The Express has not been informed who made the requests for these stories to be removed, but we wish to make it clear that we will continue to publish stories when a link has been unjustly removed from search results.
If you made either of these requests, we would urge you to contact us directly to discuss why it is you believe these links should be removed.
Express editor Martin Trepte said: “These stories relate to the reporting of open justice – something that underpins a free society.
"So it is very disturbing and sinister that a decision can be made, without any discussion or explanation, that the public does not have the right to know about them.
"We will continue to resist any undemocratic attempt to excise history.”
Closures are planned on the M4 between Langley and the M25 this weekend for smart motorway works.