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Was this trial by media?


Cymro.

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So what happened to innocent till proven guilty?

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interzone55

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Can I just point out here that she was remanded in custody because the police found stolen painkillers in her house.

From the CPS statement

"While there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction on this charge, we have decided it is not in the public interest to proceed as Rebecca Leighton would be likely to receive a nominal penalty given the time she has already spent in custody."

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johndrew

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There is a massive difference between what this girl has actually done and what she is alleged to have done. Many others have stolen far more than a few painkillers and been treated far more leniently. I wouldn't be at all surprised if many health professionals have private stocks of NHS drugs for personal use; not dissimilar to those in other jobs helping themselves to a pen/pencil/nut/bolt/etc.

It is time the press were punished severely by their controlling body for this and similar offences. They know full well the vast majority of individuals do not have the funds to take them on in the courts and treat such people as Rebecca Leighton with contempt for their rights.

Regardless of whether there is a prosecution where an individual is found guilty it is totally unreasonable to report a case in the manner this one has. Reporting the true facts, not pure unfounded speculation, is a reasonable way forward and attempting to mitigate the liability of the press subsequently using a small paragraph almost hidden within a paper is not. If it was inaccurate/untrue on the front page the apology should be as large in the same place. The press would find this unappealing as it would not sell papers, at the same time it may well curb the poor quality journalism seen currently.

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interzone55

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johndrew

I don't disagree, I just wanted to point out why she was held in custody for so long.

I think that before too long the government will be forced to bring in a privacy law to stop this kind of intrusive reporting by a media that has shown far too often that they are totally incapable of any kind of self regulation...

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badgery

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"bring in a privacy law to stop this kind of intrusive reporting by a media"

Given the complexity of drafting such a law, I expect to see pigs in flight, first.

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bremner

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alan14

It is incorrect to say she was held in custody for theft of painkillers. This offence in itself would not be one for which a custodial remand would have been likely.

She was remanded in custody because of the much more serious offence of criminal damage with intent to endanger life - an offence which has a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The statement you have quoted merely makes the point that were the theft charge to have continued and she be found guilty, then any Judge would have deemed the time she had spent on remand (which counts double) sufficient penalty.

The likelihood is that such a theft charge would on its own be very unlikely to have resulted in a custodial sentence in any event.

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interzone55

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bremner

My point wasn't well presented, I was implying that the police used this charge to keep her so they could continue to investigate the more serious offence of tampering with the drips

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morddwyd

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"It is time the press were punished severely by their controlling body"

What controlling body?

We have a free press, long may it continue.

That freedom is sometimes (some would say routinely) abused.

However, remove that freedom and the opportunity for abuse might have far wider reaching consequences.

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johndrew

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morddwyd

"What controlling body?"

The 'controlling body' for the press is the Press Complaints Committee (PCC). All members - which I believe to be all the free press in the UK - are subject to its Code of Practice. The very first line of this requires, "All members of the press have a duty to maintain the highest professional standards."

You may consider the reporting of this case and the abuse of an individuals rights to be perfectly correct; many will not agree.

I agree with the freedom of the press to report accurately and factually. If any part of any report is speculative it should be made clear and not used where an individuals freedom or reputation are involved. When the press deviate from their role of accurate reporting and move into character assassination (or trial by media if you prefer) they cease to be guardians of freedom and start to become oppressors in their own right.

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interzone55

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johndrew

Membership of the PCC is voluntary, the Express group papers for instance are not member, this includes the execrable Daily Star

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morddwyd

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"The 'controlling body' for the press is the Press Complaints Committee (PCC"

The PCC does not "control" the press, it is only advisory, and has no teeth.

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