The Magistrate's Blog (2005-2012)

This blog has migrated to www.magistratesblog.blogspot.co.uk This blog is anonymous, and Bystander's views are his and his alone. Where his views differ from the letter of the law, he will enforce the letter of the law because that is what he has sworn to do. If you think that you can identify a particular case from one of the posts you are wrong. Enough facts are changed to preserve the truth of the tale but to disguise its exact source.

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Location: Near London, United Kingdom

The blog is written by a retired JP, with over 30 years' experience on the Bench.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Deliberate Distortion

This story appeared in the Daily Mail last week. As intended it attracted some comments that were universally scathing of the police action in this case. Have a look at them.
Just a minute though:- the action described in the story would certainly amount to Common Assault. If it is reported to the police they have a duty to act, and so they did. Neighbour disputes are not all trivial, and have even resulted in murder before now. Most importantly, the man with the hosepipe (described as a 'Financial Adviser') accepted a caution, thus agreeing that he had committed the alleged offence. So what are he and the Mail whinging about? He had his DNA and prints taken? So does everybody, whether they like it or not. Are we asking for special laws for Financial Advisers? Does the Mail want Common Assault redefined?

But that isn't the worst of it. When I read the report (online: I wouldn't pay for the damn thing) I rang an acqaintance to ask him to add a comment pointing out that the police had acted properly, which he did. It was not published: conclusive proof that the Mail did not want to spoil a good 'how dare they' story with the inconvenient truth.

What annoys me about this is that many people, like those whose comments were published, will have accepted the story with its suggestions of police bias and inefficiency.
This is unprofessional and dishonest journalism, and the Mail should be ashamed of itself. It doesn't do shame though, does it?