PRESS RELEASE – Mazher Mahmood conviction underscores need for Leveson Part 2 to start now

Commenting after the sentencing of Mazher Mahmood, Joint Executive Director of Hacked Off Dr Evan Harris said:

“Red flags were raised about the reliability of Mazher Mahmood’s stings over decades but the police ignored them.


“Given the number of appeals against convictions that the Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service secured on the basis of the evidence of this convicted liar, the need for the Second Part of the Leveson Inquiry – which would include looking at the relationship between the press and the police – is overwhelmingly clear.”



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1 Comment

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October 26, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Too bad this hasn’t been pursued in the United States.

Here, the press pretty much owns the judges, the prosecution and public opinion, such that no publicized trial is ever really a fair trial. It should obvious that judges (except the Supreme Court justices), and District Attorneys are elected officials and are subject to the whims of the press. With respect to appointed officials, we saw this effect with the George Bush (“W”) appointed Attorney General: Alberto Gonzales. If the press depicts them as too lenient, they won’t be re-elected (or those appointing them will not be re-elected). If the press colors them too harsh, they won’t be elected (or the officials who appointed them).

Moreover, jurors inherently walk into a trial fervent to see the either the “criminal(s)”, or the “persecuted”, depending on how the press has handled reporting the alleged crime. Jurors are largely predisposed to participate as “good guys” to either put the “criminal” away or rescue the “persecuted”, by a human engineering process known as “group think” (a predilection to modify one’s opinion to be in keeping with the majority — a “safety in numbers” human response). Who defines what the (perceived) majority correct and acceptable thinking is? The press! Those lone wolves, given to not following may even experience fear that the press will seek them out to persecute them if they do not vote with the press-indicated majority (acceptable) thinking. We saw this in the criminal prosecution of O.J. Simpson.

There are three possible results: (1) By pure chance, the press makes takes a position such that justice is actually done. (2) A guilty perpetrator is set free (which in the United States had previously been seen as more desirable than the 3rd option). (3) Innocent person(s) is/are convicted by their own government. The result of the 3rd outcome is going to me one or more persons really upset with their governments and its populace if they’re ever set free. I can’t think of too many things that would set a person’s mind and heart hard against their own country and countrymen than to be persecuted by the public at-large, and convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, This potentially breeds a wholly different variety of domestic terrorist: innocent people wrongly convicted.

Ronald Cotton (Picking Cotton) was a counter-example. Ronald Cotton is/was a truly an amazing person that he found it within himself to team up with the woman who wrongly identified him as her attacker (twice), to speak out on the subject. It makes for a heart-warming story of how a man could become friends with a woman who wrongly accused him of rape, after after spending a significant portion of his life behind bars, but things might have turned out very different had he been of different character.

In any case, I hope the Hacked Off efforts are successful in bridling the press and that the same thinking takes a strong root in the United States as well.

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