Saturday, August 16, 2014

How journalists and police complicitly played hard and fast with the law

Wherever events surrounded Sir Cliff Richard end up, he has been hard done by. The public press coverage is a powerful lynching stick, loaded with supposition and winks.

The presumed innocence before being charged and tried is overarching, but something more strategic is at play.

According to Leveson's recommendation unless the alleged perpetuator is a risk to the public, they shouldn't be named, when accused.  They blame the BBC.

However, the police in proceeding as they did have played a cynical but legal loophole card. 

To charge someone, means the case becomes active and no contextual pieces can be published by the press. This often diminishes the chances of others from coming forward because they may not know the detailed circumstances/ history of the charge. 

Furthermore, police are presumably deprived of any potential investigative leads that may be unearthed by the press, in an era of squeezed police resources.

In this situation the CPS, in considering the case, must attempt to build their evidence on that of one person against the alleged offender.

By putting the story in the public domain, and not charging, the press are free from the constraints of contempt on an active case.

Moreover, others with so called 'relevant' information, if that is the case, may feel compelled to add to the charge. 

When the CPS deem they have enough evidence then they may feel emboldened to charge the accused. 

Surprising however that the BBC, the moral arbiter of journalism standards should be complicit in this story, if that is reports it tipped off police are true.

One can only surmise that the Savile scandal has swung their ethical pendulum.

But the wider concern is journalistic probity is compromised. Do the means justify the ends?