“This isn’t a court of Justice boy, this is a Court of law,” sang Billy Bragg in 1988 when he released the song ‘Rotting on Remand.’
That song has always resonated with me for personal reasons, but that one line in the song sums up perfectly, the feeling that so many people must have experienced in Criminal Courts up and down this country over the years.
When a particularly horrific crime is committed, especially one that has been visited on a child, the public fury whipped up by the mainstream media is truly frightening.
The anger is understandable, the shock and disbelief that accompany the confusion that many people feel when confronted with a real-life horror story, is soon drowned by the clamour for ‘Justice’.
But at what price?
When the pursuit of Justice and revenge becomes strong enough, when the public are whipped into a baying mob by the mainstream media, it is all too often that the first casualty is the truth.
The lack of evidence is overlooked, the flimsiest circumstantial ‘proof’ is held up like a beacon, then paraded triumphantly at the head of the crowd, with any deviation from the story becoming trampled beneath the designer trainers and media spin.
And it happens more often than you think.
It is my opinion that the majority of the cases caught in the glare of the media spotlights, that involves the abduction and murder of children should be looked at again.
In fact, it is only the case of Shannon Matthews that has managed to bring the correct perpetrators to justice, mainly because Karen Matthews was an altogether rather stupid individual who tried to cash in on the public generosity and media fame that usually accompanies such events.
Many of these cases have been rigorously scrutinised since, and in nearly all it has been found that the most important omission, was the actual truth.
But then again, the law was seen to have been served in a very public way, and who am I to argue with the makers of such laws…….