Williams killer on trial already
The Age today reported on the killer of Carl Williams, who faced court yesterday. The man’s identity is supposed to be a secret but The Age may as well have told us where the guy lives. You can see the colour of his thin eyebrows, his bald head, large build, mouth and ears.
Later today, they pulled the picture, but only after Chief Editor Paul Ramage was told by Jon Faine on ABC radio that the picture was probably not in the spirit of the court-ordered identity protection.
The Herald Sun acknowledged it shouldn’t be talking about his identity, and yet in the same breath describe him as ‘large, bald, and broad-chested’
Enter the white knight, the glorious ABC, who reveal the man’s age but nothing else. Quoting the judge, the ABC story acknowledges “He asked the media to refrain from publishing any prejudicial or sensitive information, adding such forbearance is necessary, “not only to respect court processes, but in respect for public rights and freedoms that we all should seek to enjoy and protect”. Jon Faine was keen to let listeners know that the ABC was not going to reveal any parts of his identity. But he doesn’t have to sell papers, The Age and Herald Sun do. Does that excuse them? How much of the man’s identity can they reveal?
Melbourne knows Carl Williams was not a good bloke. And his alleged killer is in a maximum security jail, so you wouldn’t invite him to Christmas day lunch. But if he’s to get a fair trial, his identity should not be revealed. I’m all for trial by media, but only after trial in the courts.