Exonerated drone suspects tried by media

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Photo DPA

The Mail showed us once again what a contemptible paper it can be. This time with its coverage of the arrest of a man and a woman over the Gatwick drone incidents. The couple was released without charge and are ‘no longer suspects’ yet splashed across the Mail’s front page was their picture and the headline “Are these the morons who ruined Christmas?”
In the grotty publication’s eyes, they were guilty until proven innocent. The use of the question mark is a weak attempt at being circumspect and will unlikely be sufficient defence if the pair decides to take legal action. But the Mail wasn’t alone in the sewer. Other papers also named and carried their photographs while Piers Morgan left his brain in neutral when he called them ‘clowns’. He later apologised and feebly excused himself by saying he had followed ‘other media’. Is he not capable of independent thought?
The treatment of the Gatwick couple is reminiscent of what happened to Christopher Jefferies who was arrested on suspicion of killing Joanna Yeates in December 2010. He was innocent and quickly released but not before his character had been assassinated by several national newspapers. Has the media learned nothing from the Jeffries case and the Leveson Inquiry into the practices and ethics of the British press? Jefferies brought libel actions against several papers and won substantial damages. I hope the Gatwick couple decides to follow his example.

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