Apparently in this country and most other civilised countries if you are arrested on suspicion of something, then until you are proven to be guilty of a crime you must be presumed to be innocent. The reason for this is that it puts the burden of proof on the state, that is, they have to prove you are guilty rather than you having to prove you are innocent.
However the press in this country don’t abide by this rule and instead if your name is mentioned in relation to a case then an all out character assassination will take place – it’s almost as if the papers kick the case for the prosecution off months in advance, tainting any chance of a fair trial.
So it’s pleasing to see in the news today, that both The Sun, The Mirror and a number of other newspapers have had to pay libel damages to Chris Jefferies. If you don’t recall who he is, he was the first arrest following the murder of Joanna Yates. After his arrest he was splashed all over the papers and portrayed as a pervert, a weirdo and i distinctly remember one newspaper referring to him as a ‘Nutty Professor’. The media is very powerful and for anyone reading the stuff they printed you’d be forgiven for thinking he was guilty as sin and this was an open and shut case. Alas, it later transpired he had nothing to do with the murder and someone else was eventually arrested and charged. His name and reputation however was left in tatters.
He’ll get an apology the size of an ant’s penis in the various papers over the next day or two and he has apparently won ‘substantial’ damages so in some respects he has fought his corner and won. But it doesn’t put a stop to it….
Most recently, the same happened with regard to the Nurse arrested on suspicion of murder patients at Stepping Hill hospital. As it turns out, she appears to be guilty of something, but even before she was charged the newspapers had conducted an all out assassination on her character which included posting humiliating pictures taken from Facebook. Again, she was hung out to dry before having any trial.
God forbid if you are ever in the wrong place, at the wrong time when a high profile crime takes place, if you are arrested you may be lucky enough to be splashed across the tabloids dressed as Batman from that fancy dress night out.