BBC Scotland dropped a report into problems at the Glasgow Science Centre because a news presenter had appeared in an advertisement for the attraction, a damning report has found.

The report by the BBC Trust, the corporation's ruling body, finds clear breaches of its rules on conflicts of interest, as well as an attempt to "mislead" the listener who complained about the incident.

Between April and November 2011 BBC Scotland employed a freelance journalist, Colin Kelly, to present the early radio news programme, Morning Briefing, which starts at 5.30am.

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During the period he was presenting Morning Briefing, Mr Kelly also appeared in an advertisement on STV. It was transmitted in the week beginning July 25, 2011 and featured an event taking place at the Glasgow Science Centre on July 30, 2011.

On July 28, 2011, the BBC News website and some other news outlets, including BBC Radio Scotland for part of the day, carried a story about the Glasgow Science Centre and the problems it was having with its rotating tower, and about how Sandra White, the MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, was calling for an inquiry.

However, the Glasgow Science Centre tower story was not reported by Morning Briefing, which was presented that day by Mr Kelly. Liam Robertson, who complained to BBC Scotland, said this was a deliberate omission because Mr Kelly had appeared in the advert.

After lengthy delays in responding to Mr Robertson's complaint, a report by the trust's Editorial Standards Committee, published yesterday, found that "it was clear from the guidelines that the presenter should not have been given permission to appear in the advertisement because of the potential conflict of interest with his news presenting".

It said it was not Mr Kelly's fault as he had asked for permission, which was granted, to appear in the advert.

However, it adds there had been a "clear breach of the guidelines on conflicts of interest as the news agenda of Morning Briefing had been distorted to take account of the presenter's appearance in a television advertisement".

In the report, the committee found the producer of the show had intended to include the Science Centre story in that morning's programme.

However, the news-gathering editor, not named in the report, supported by the head of news and current affairs at BBC Scotland, John Boothman, decided it should not be run on Morning Briefing.

The report adds: "The committee understood that this action was intended to avoid the risk of the perception of a conflict of interest, since the news-gathering editor recognised that listeners might also have seen Mr Kelly, the programme's presenter, in an advertisement for the Science Centre. Nevertheless, the committee's view was that other options were available, which would not have involved dropping the item from the Morning Briefing news list, including deploying another presenter to cover the story.

"Furthermore, the committee agreed that the effect of omitting the item and changing what the programme covered was that the programme's agenda had been distorted to take account of Mr Kelly's promotional activities, thereby allowing these to influence the BBC's editorial judgments."

The delays by the BBC in responding to the original complaint had been "unacceptable", the committee found, and initial statements by the BBC on the matter had "misled".

In particular, in a response to the complaint on January 12, 2012, BBC Scotland had told Mr Robertson that Mr Kelly's advert had been for The Hour, not the Science Centre, which was untrue.

The report says: "The committee further noted that the individual who had asserted the advert was for The Hour had not actually viewed it for herself at that stage."

Mr Robertson said: "How can we trust BBC Scotland's journalism when controversial stories are dropped due to senior managers not being able to follow their own guidelines?"

A spokesman for BBC Scotland said it had noted the report and did not comment further.

l Nearly one million listeners a week are tuning in to BBC Radio Scotland, according to the latest audience figures.

The RAJAR report covering the last three months of 2012 and the first quarter of this year showed an audience of 998,000 listeners. The station has recently introduced schedule changes.