Thursday, January 17, 2013


The hard cases are what make good law. You take a guiding principle and test it at the edges. Is it murder if I only meant to hurt him? This is imaginary right? Enter manslaughter.

On Fighting Talk, (Radio 5 Live Saturday mornings at 11.00 a.m. - the best show for sports loving blokes ever) they have an item called 'Defend the Indefensible'. To test their debating skills panellists are asked to argue that, for instance, Usain Bolt is over-rated or Manchester United would be better off changing their manager more regularly.

I am about to do that so please understand.

One of the hard fought for principles of the legal system in this country is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Another is more obvious - you can't put a dead person on trial. Now I realise that there is so much smoke around the Savile corpse that you would be pretty daft to deny the presence of flames. Fair enough. But to make the leap from allegation to guilt without a trial. We don't do that round here. We're civilised.

We do not like to think of ourselves in the same breath as those who threw rocks at the van taking Venables and Thompson to court for the Bulger trial. We do not sit comfortably with those who drive paediatricians out of town because they sound like paedophiles. So we should not, unless we change the law, talk of Savile's crimes, however tempting that might be. We speak about the serious allegations made against him. No more.

Theippaper, which is normally very good, fell into this trap over four pages last Saturday. Shame on it.

This piece is not intended to trivialise sexual, or any other sort of, abuse in any way


John Ward said...

Good points, and similar to thoughts I'd been having while the 'proven guilt by weight of numbers' was being taken for granted by all and sundry.

Disagree with the comparison to Fighting Talk though. Defend the indefensible is a preposterous idea they have to defend in a comedic manner (recently advocating the Olympics would have been better if coins were thrown at athletes), whereas you are seriously (and correctly) calling for the law to be upheld.

Sorry to come across as 'Dear BBC, Why oh why...'

St said...

No problem. I think I heard you say 'good points' at the beginning so I can live with the criticism.

Marcella said...

I agree. An awful lot of money, time and mud has been wasted. None of the victims will get justice (if, in fact, it is required) so I'm left with the somewhat cynical conclusion that the whole investigation is actually about compensation.