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Presume innocence until proven guilty

THE general consensus seems to be that Dominique Strauss Khan’s political career is over regardless whether the allegations against him eventually hold up in court.

Does anyone remember the angry scenes some time back as crowds pounded on the side of a police van taking a west Cork man accused of murder to trial? Though he had not yet been convicted of anything, for some people it was enough that he had his name and picture published in the paper to make him guilty in their minds.

The law absolutely needs to change here. Everyone is entitled to their good name unless actually convicted by the weight of evidence in court. All too often the arrest and trial — especially of someone prominent — receives a frenzy of media attention, the story spun out for days until more titillating news arrives along. Many of the public seem to believe “there’s no smoke without a fire”, which is why we listen to gossip too. If the accused is acquitted, it usually gets a brief mention amongst other news of the day.

I call on the Law Reform Society and Dáil to press for a change to the law that would protect every citizen’s right to their good name until they at least have had their day in court.

If we lead the way in Ireland perhaps other enlightened countries will follow suit.

Nick Folley

Carrigaline

Co Cork


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