A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tale of two suspects - Jo Yeates murder inquiry

The Daily Mail says "Police withhold suspect's name because of worries over media coverage". Reading the story one would be given the idea that the Daily Mail was a paragon of virtue when it comes to reporting about people. The "Daily Mail Reporter" says -

It is understood that police have withheld the name of the arrested man because of the media frenzy that followed the first arrest in the case, that of Jo's landlord Chris Jefferies, 65. There are strict instructions on what media outlets can and cannot report during police investigations and it is understood that investigators were extremely unhappy with some coverage that they felt overstepped the mark, potentially jeopardising their enquiries.

Mr Jefferies is said to be considering suing police for wrongful arrest after his name and photograph were widely circulated in connection with the case. His friend Irving Steggles, said 'He is preparing a case against the media and the police, I believe. This has completely shattered his life.' As part of the statement released to confirm the arrest this morning, police gave a firm instruction to media outlets covering the case. It read: 'Proceedings are active and everyone is reminded of the Contempt of Court Act and therefore you will understand that we cannot discuss any more details'.

All sounds neat and dandy. The Daily Mail never got up to anything so remotely unhelpful as writing about Christopher Jefferies in a prurient way, did they? Vincent Tabak can only be thankful that someone has muzzled the media. Should it ever come to a matter of trial, it is the right of all defendants that their trial is fair. Free speech is about the lawful dissemination of comment. It is not about inflaming public opinion with unsubstantiated facts and mere tittle-tattle before justice is upheld.

Maybe the police have been advised what sort of civil penalties they might face if found on the wrong end of a lawsuit? Maybe the press have had similar figures bandied about? I don't know, but all with an interest in such matters seem of a very different disposition. The real problem here is that the modern media seems so morally bankrupt that they cannot draw themselves up short in front of tabloid temptation. If Christopher Jerfferies does sue, then he will be making a stand for proper justice with due process and not for a kangaroo court aided and abetted by the lynch mob tendencies of the more scurrilous journals.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1348832/Joanna-Yeates-murder-Vincent-Tabaks-flat-searched-man-32-arrested.html#ixzz1Bb1F1GHk


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