Monday, 27 February 2017
INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY
I am very fortunate on my blog that I have many intelligent and informative contributors from both sides of the divide in the case of missing Madeleine McCann. I think we all attempt to keep open minds, so the discussion doesn't get bogged down in a small space behind a wall.
In my last blog, discussion turned to the issue of Libel and the notion of Innocent until proven Guilty. A noble idea, built on sound foundations, but one that rarely works very well in practice. In every high profile crime, the public will form an opinion, especially if the main protagonists are constantly in the public eye. What Gerry and Kate have consistently failed to realise, is that every time they, or their spokesman, make seething, angry, bitter, threatening, statements, they are building up their list of people to sue. Their tactics are not likeable.
The problem with the Law, or whatever protection the McCanns are demanding, is that it is universal, it applies to everyone. For example, in the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the Daily Mail named the suspects and put them on the front page. Quite rightly some would say, they were a gang of racist thugs and career criminals. But they hadn't been charged, nor had they been put on trial. Strictly speaking the Daily Mail broke that IupG law, but in fact they were all lawyered up and ready for the suing to begin. It didn't. And those men carry that stigma for evermore. Something I am not unhappy about.
I do wonder sometimes if Gerry and Kate understand the importance of freedom of the press, because throughout their ordeal (10 years), they have stamped all over it with hobnail boots. To such an extent that we had that ludicrous 'no-one's allowed to say anything' This Morning interview with Mark Williams Thomas. If the public don't get that they are being treated like mugs in this case, a quick watch of an astonished Holly and Phillip and a blathering MWT will confirm it.
Libel trials are a joke, high profile ones especially. There is nothing more detestable than demands to burn books. It's like watching Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in slow motion. How deranged do you have to be to go those lengths? With their legal actions I think we seeing folie a deux in action. Though, the best libel story I have heard lately was Donald Trump .v. Bill Maher. The Claimant wanted damages because the Defendant said the C's mother had sex with an orange orangutan. Probably not a good example because the Defendant had to settle. Shame it would have been the trial of the century.
But I digress. Gerry and Kate have been given a relatively easy ride by the press. And quite rightly. Nobody wants to see the days when News of the World paedo witch hunts led to angry mobs and the homes of paediatricians being burned to the ground. Though I do wonder if Karen Matthews would have got the same courtesy had Shannon not been found.
I like to hope however, the police and the MSM have made most of their decisions for humanitarian reasons. Some however, clearly weren't. This case brought out the Little Englander in those faux liberal journalists, who abandoned all their principles because Gerry and Kate were PLU (People Like Us). The assistance of the MSM gave them the millions they needed to the UK's best lawyers on a retainer for 10 years. Result.
Gerry and Kate have always had the ear of media moguls and politicians, ergo, it has always been within their power to change public opinion. Their failure to convince the public rests entirely with them. Someone really needs to have a quiet word with them about 'blame' and accepting responsibility for their own actions.
They have had every opportunity to give an honest account of what happened, even now I am sure there are sympathetic MS journalists out there, who would leap at the chance to have an honest question and answer session. As Kate said herself, most people are inherently good. Any anger has subsided to a quiet trickle, most people eventually realise that certain public figures are not responsible for their bitterness and malevolence and move on. There are of course, still a few rabble rousers hanging on in there, but their 15 minutes has passed. Most people just want the truth and I'm glad so many are now looking in here. Such is life, the assumption of innocence cannot be handed to them on a plate or enforced with legislation. It is something Gerry and Kate have to prove through their words and actions. It always has been.