Can you remove articles from Google if you were not guilty?
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What to do if Google shows news articles about your not guilty trial
It’s hard to conceive a more unjust scenario than when Google displays links to articles about an individual who, after years of legal proceedings following an arrest, was ultimately found not guilty.
Google is under no obligation delist news articles where the defendant was found not guilty. However, under a right to be forgotten, there is a strong argument that links to articles which reported (often selectively) from legal proceedings, should not come up in relation to an individual’s name, in the event that the individual was eventually found not guilty of the alleged criminal offences. Our client, Josephine, (not her real name) was an instrumental figure in a thriving business, which offered services such as safety deposit box rentals. This type of business was popular at the time and our client did very well. She was known for providing excellent customer services and had built up a reputation for herself as a trustworthy and an honest business woman.
Sadly, an event occurred whereby a former employee was involved in a fraudulent currency transaction which our client did not consider as fraudulent as such at the time, but an error of judgement by the employee and by providing further training. Over a decade later, it transpired that the transaction was indeed fraudulent and both Josephine and her former employee were arrested for frau and stood a trial.
Whilst the jury had found Josephine not guilty of any wrongdoing, they found the former employee guilty as charged. The trial received an extensive media coverage which has remained online for over 30 years. Since them, Josephine has suffered serious harm to her reputation and her business never fully recovered. She recently wanted to sell he business but the articles online made it impossible for her to do so. Josephine then sought the advice of our lawyers at Cohen Davis.
The answer is yes. It is possible to have news articles about a trial delisted from Google but this would depend on the circumstances of each case. Our in-depth assessment of Josephine’s case, presented two clear pathways to having news articles about her trial removed from Google searches in relation to her name. Simultaneously, we were prepared to serve Google with a direct GDPR notice, which would compel them to respond within a 21-day window or risk potential legal ramifications.
If this approach hit a roadblock, we were prepared to serve task maters further, including issuing legal proceedings against Google for breach of our client’s right to fair proceedings of her data and breach of her right to private life. Our lawyers’ stance was clear – given the age of the events and the inaccuracies presented in various articles, their continuous circulation was no linger in the public interest and was becoming increasingly damaging to our client under extremely unfair circumstances.
Can you make successful right to be forgotten request in relation to newspaper reporting’s from court
Newspapers have a right to report from court proceedings provided they do so fairly. Google, however, not being a member of the press, doesn’t have the same rights. So, whilst it could be very difficult to convince a newspaper editor to delete news articles which had been providing fair court reporting, it is very possible to convince Google to do this very thing.
Following our successful communications with Google, Josephine began to see a transformative shift in her online presence. Key derogatory and defamatory articles started disappearing from search results, and he persistent shadow of her past began dissipating. Josephine felt a renewed sense of control over her life and online persona, and this had a massive positive impact on her business which she was subsequently able to sell.
Overwhelmed with relief, Josephine expressed how our firm’s multi-faceted approach not only provided effective solutions but also played a vital role in restoring her peace of mind and mental health. Her journey serves as a poignant reminder that the digital age can amplify past events, often overshadowing one’s resent. Yet, with sharp legal guidance, resilience, and a well-devised strategy, it’s possible to reframe one’s online story and move forward with renewed optimism.
Case studies are based on true cases where names, dates and circumstances have often been amended to protect the identity of those involved.