26 June 2011

How brave was the Dowler family to stand up and criticise their ordeal... ? Then there is this afternoon's breaking news...

During the last couple of days since Levi Belfield was convicted there has been much press coverage about the sad case of the young girl Milly Dowler who disappeared, later to be found dead. http://is.gd/CE0eh9

However, much of the press coverage has been about  Milly's family - her father, mother and sister who bravely stood up outside the Courthouse to deliver their verdict on the process to which they'd been subjected.  The jury took seven hours to debate and as the verdicts were read out the family broke down sobbing and Mrs. Dowler collapsed, clearly very seriously upset.  But was their upset about the verdicts or the fact that the episode of the inquiry into Milly's death had ended...  probably both.

The four-week trial saw Milly's father, Robert Dowler and her mother Sally subjected to cross-examination by Bellfield's defence team.  Each of them had broken down in the witness box - it was suggested that Milly may have run away because she was unhappy at home.  In their statement outside the courthouse the Dowler family said that the process had been "mentally scarring" and that the justice system was loaded unfairly in favour of the criminal   http://is.gd/T57Hfx.

There have been different accounts of this from the Police and the Defence team, defending their actions although the Police did apologise and has called for changes. Surely the Chief Constable was aware of how the family were being treated? This was a high profile case. Wonder if an apology would have been made had the Dowler family not read out their statements?  http://is.gd/7kRgug. 

The defence barrister, Jeffrey Samuels QC, has been unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for the Criminal Bar Association (CBA) argued that the adversarial nature of trials is fundamental to justice. http://is.gd/ogZfCM.  He may have a point. But what about the reporting. Should parts of this trial been held in private.

Finally, it transpires that although the jury debated for seven hours, and this was on the issue of whether Levi Belfield had abducted another girl Rachel Cowles,  the judge discharged the jury without reaching a conclusion.  The judge blamed the media coverage of the trial. http://is.gd/MXtmLW,

So basically the media got the in way of a fair trial of Levi Belfield the man suspected of also trying to abduct Rachel Cowles.  The attempted abduction file will lie on file. Clearly questions will be asked about the Judge's decision to dismiss the jury..   it appears that the Attorney General's office will be looking into it. 

Yet again the media is in the spotlight.   In May the Attorney General's office won permission from the high court to bring contempt of court proceedings against the Sun and the Daily Mirror over their coverage of the Chris Jefferies in December last year. He was the man who was arrested on suspicion of murdering Joanna Yeates in Bristol. A date is awaited for the case to be heard.

This afternoon, as I write this blog, the death and reported possible suicide has been announced of Mr. Christopher Shale, a Snr Conservative in David Cameron's constituency.  I won't say too much as it is early days but as the circumstances of Mr.Shale's death unwinds, one has to wonder if external bodies had a role to play - all roads appear to point in that direction!  http://is.gd/Tqk15v and http://is.gd/YwrYMZ.  Questions arise here too...

At this stage, despite what our political beliefs may be, we should consider the feelings of  Mr.Shale's family. This will be a very sad time for them.

But watch this space...

Some of the latest media coverage : Dowler family
The Telegraph - Chief Constable talks about 'shock' of experience for the Dowler family http://is.gd/fOi4ES
The Indy - Lawyers defend cross-examination of Dowler family http://is.gd/ogZfCM
The Mail - Murder tore Milly's family to shreds, and the legal jackels feasted on what was left  http://is.gd/XojSJ4
The Mail -  Police & Lawyers blame each other for 'inhumane' court ordeal http://is.gd/MkCCoD
The Guardian Milly Dowler's family solicitor re phonehacking Milly's voicemail http://is.gd/YvqeJA

Some of the latest media coverage : Christopher Shale
The Guardian - Christopher Shale found dead.. http://is.gd/Au05rZ
Daily Mail - Did Cameron's 'rock' die of a heart attack 20 hours before his body was discovered in a portable toilet at Glastonbury? http://is.gd/yRw5HN
The Telegraph - Tests to reolve mystery death... http://is.gd/BBW0sg
The Telegraph - Christopher Shale - big society man http://is.gd/zX72OT 26th June 2011
Sky News - announces Post Mortem on Christopher Shael is 'unascertained'  27th June 2011
The Indy - 'Top Tory's festival a mystery'  Undetermined pathology findings re death of Christopher Shale http://is.gd/YWC5lI