Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

 

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Last Sunday, I pleaded here for reason to prevail in the cases of Bill Roache, Michael Le Vell, and Nigel Evans. I pleaded for their fates not to be decided through the ineffective filter of the media until due process had been carried out through the courts.

Well, Michael Le Vell was attacked in a pub this week – a random stranger threw a pint at him while he was drinking with his friends and branded him a ‘beast’.

I would like to stress, once again, that Michael Le Vell is innocent, in the eyes of the law, until he is proven guilty. No-one has a right to assault him like this.

I’ll allow you a moment to leap in with a defence. Because i’m like that – I like to hear both sides of the story.

‘He’s a sex offender!’

A nice little excuse for the populace to round up on people who are ‘accused’. Mark that well. ‘Accused.’

Well let’s take another look at other men (and women) who were ‘accused’, in an attempt to convince ourselves that vigilante behaviour is fine:

Neil and Christine Hamilton:

The Hamiltons have been particularly vocal on the anonymity issue since they were arrested and questioned over the false sexual assault claims of Nadine Milroy-Sloan, in August 2001.

The Mail on Sunday devoted five pages to details of the woman’s claims. Charges were never brought.

Former MP Neil Hamilton promised he would “leave no stone unturned” in his quest to discourage an “epidemic” of false sex offence allegations.

The alleged “victim” Milroy-Sloan waived her anonymity in an interview with the News of the World.

She was later jailed for three years for perverting the course of justice.

Matthew Kelly:

Mr Kelly was questioned as part of an investigation into child sex abuse.

He described the month spent under suspicion as “anxious and upsetting”, particularly because of press coverage at the time of his arrest in January this year.

Following questioning, and searches of his homes in London and Sri Lanka, Surrey Police confirmed they would take no action, clearing Mr Kelly’s name.

 

During his ordeal he received widespread support from colleagues and fans.

Quinten Hann:

The Australian snooker star was acquitted of raping a woman in a hotel room following a nine-day hearing at the Old Bailey.

Mr Hann, ranked 14th in the world and known in snooker circles as the Wizard from Oz, insisted throughout the trial that the woman had made a play for him.

Afterwards, his lawyer said the fact the snooker player did not benefit from the anonymity afforded to the complainant meant “the victim was and remains Quinten Hann”.

Craig Charles:

The actor’s ex-girlfriend filed a charge of rape against him in 1994. He was arrested, imprisoned and denied bail.

In October that year, after being attacked by a fellow inmate wielding a homemade knife, Mr Charles was released on bail.

He was cleared following a two-week trial in February 1995.

 

Yes – they were all innocent. I would like to think that, in light of this, throwing a pint into the face of a stranger suddenly looks a little less attractive idea.

But knowing what I know of where we are right now, probably not.

 

SOURCES: The Sunday Mirror, BBC News

 

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