I have been on a bit of a bandwagon recently over what the role of the media is not only in this country but around the world. Is the media there to drive the news agenda or is it there to report the news? I know my thoughts but I am a lone voice in the wilderness with the wind howling back into my face so my voice is only heard by me.
So yesterday two men were convicted of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. They will be sentenced shortly and will be sentenced as juveniles as they were 16 and 17 when they carried out the murder. These men had escaped justice for the best part of 19 years. In 1997 the Daily Mail had a front page calling five suspects murderers and challenging them to sue them. We all have seen the front page but it is all over the Daily Mail website today. I still find this deplorable as I believe it is the job of the courts and members of a jury to decide who is guilty of what crime and not an editorial staff at a newspaper but that might be a bit old fashioned of me.
So we get to today. The Daily Mail are lauding the fact that two of the people they accused have been found guilty. Guilt was deemed through forensic evidence only which always make me a touch uneasy but guilt has been passed and that is that. My biggest issue is with the fact that the three other men they accused are being chased by the newspaper as they look to take down the other three men they accused for the killing in 1997. Hang on a minute surely that isn’t the job of the newspaper, that is the job of the police and CPS?
As it stands these three men have been found not guilty in a court of law of these crimes. Charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence so what do the Daily Mail have on these suspects that they have decided not to pass on to the police? Surely they have some hard evidence to accuse these people of such a crime or is it maybe the fact that the people of this country want justice and sometimes justice is best served through the media than in the courts?
This is just something I cannot stomach. The people behind the Daily Mail do not know these men committed said crime. They took a calculated risk that would boost their circulation and make them sound tough on a notorious crime. The five men were always unlikely to sue the newspaper despite the fact they would win because of the public perception against them for doing so. Two of these men have now 15 years later been found guilty in a Court of Law but all five were perceived guilty in the Court of Public Opinion thanks in no small part to the Daily Mail.
Should they herald this as a triumph? They got two of out five seemingly right. All five had faced these charges before but when the Double Jeopardy law was repealed then it opened up the possibility of another trial. The police have found enough forensic evidence to take down two but the odds of finding any against the other three or more at this point seems like an awful long shot. No witnesses at the time could identify any of the suspects. There was no CCTV of the incident so we are left with the scenario where there will be no primary evidence available at any potential trial of the three other men.
So why does the Daily Mail (and the BBC News last night) try to continue to harass these men who have faced these charges only to be found not guilty due to insufficient evidence in an attempt to goad them into a retaliation? They do it because they have decided that is what mob justice wants and if they can’t get justice in the courts then they will be the ones to hand out the justice. That isn’t right folks and we all know it.
Still that how it goes these days. A media outlet can drive a story and if it bays to the will of the mob then they will be able to get away with it. People want justice and these days many don’t see the Court of Law as the best place for justice to be dished out. This worries me deeply.
I know that all five men that the newspaper accused seem like extremely unpleasant people. They may well be guilty of the crime that the Daily Mail says they are. They might very well be. However for me I shall leave it up to the courts and the 12 good men and women on a jury to decide who is guilty and of what crime and not the media. The media will never have all the evidence and will always have an ulterior motive. The courts and the jury won’t and that is why they are the right people to dish out justice and not the media.
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