Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The murder of a gangland boss

while serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison has been causing headlines around the country. There is a considerable section of the population which appears to find this sort of thing fascinating.
A television series I have not seen (and do not wish to see) has apparently been made about this character. How realistic it is I do not know but the legal fraternity was concerned enough to request that viewing of it be restricted in his home state while his trial was running.
I suspect that did little good. Copies of the programmes would inevitably have been slipped in by relatives and friends of those who did want to watch it. Trying to restrict viewing of it merely added to the mystique surrounding the individual in question. No doubt it did even more to ensure a guilty verdict. "It said on the telly that..." and therefore it "must" be "true". Perhaps it was. I do not know. I am thankful I was not on the jury.
Now questions are being asked as to how he could be murdered while in virtual isolation in maximum security. Conspiracy theories, fanned by his legal representative, abound. There are demands for an inquiry that would extend well beyond those on duty at the time. I doubt there would be answers.
One of the things that may have set all of this off was a front page story - on more than one newspaper - that the police were paying fees for this individual's daughter to attend a fee paying school. Now yes, this may well have been "news", the sort of front page news the media loves.
It was also irresponsible journalism and may well have led to his death.
Many people will say he is "no loss to society" and that it was costing taxpayers money to keep him incarcerated. Many of those same people will say in the next breath that they do not approve of the death penalty.
In the middle of all this is a young girl. The individual was her father. The media must be held at least partially responsible for her distress.


Tony said...

The sad thing is that the first thought whenever anything of this type happens now is that Channel 9 must be ecstatic...

catdownunder said...

On that channel is it? If they had an ounce of decency they would pull the programme. I suppose their ratings will skyrocket. (Not sure our television set would know how to get that channel. It has problems with SBS and the ABC!)

Sheep Rustler said...

In a way the school fees story was in the public interest as those fees are being paid for out of our taxes. I can't afford to send my children to a private school (not that I actually want to). It wasn't his trial that caused Underbelly to be banned (and it still is, largely) in Victoria but several other trials, the evidence for which is partially based on the material he allegedly supplied police (for which they are allegedly paying things like the school fees!) IT is a grubby and unpleasant saga but it does involve a lot of our tax money so some disclosure is possibly in the public interest, as I said. When the series was first banned 'so as not to taint the jury pool', but the books it was based on were not, I immediately went out and read those books to prove that the law was an ass - reading those books would have disqualified me from service on those juries every bit as much as watching the programme, yet no-one thought (or still has thought) that they should be removed from the public domain. I thought it said a lot about the quality of people they expect to choose juries from! Bah humbug.

catdownunder said...

Normally in the public interest - but not when a child was involved. As far as I know the child has not committed any crimes and, presumably, there were reasons for doing it - which may well relate to the child's safety or, if we go with the conspiracy theory, police corruption and informing. If safety is the issue then it is unforgiveable and if informing was an issue then the media is complicit in assisting a cover-up and that is also unforgiveable. Whatever, I still feel sorry for the child - and yes, have to agree "the law is an ass".

Sheep Rustler said...

I mostly agree. But the unfortunate child is regularly paraded in front of the media by her appalling mother, and it is fairly common knowledge where she lives and where she goes to school (I actually went to the same school for a year a long time ago - my parents decided it wasn't worth the money!) So her safety is already compromised many times over. And the information stuff isn't a conspiracy theory, it is openly acknowledged by the Chief Commissioner of Police for Victoria.

I will now bow gracefully from this discussion because I feel grubby already!

catdownunder said...

Agree Judy - I have not been following it closely and still feel grubby - poor kid.