OK, so everyone’s disgusted, but what if Vanessa George is found not guilty because of that disgust?

The problem with really high profile cases such as Vanessa George’s seems likely to be is that the very high level of publically expressed opinions can mean that the court case can be thrown out.

To avoid that what usually happens is that a reporting restriction is invoked whereby it’s deemed to be in contempt of court to publish specific information about the case in advance of a verdict being announced. That system worked really well in pre-internet days but is increasingly unworkable in the Internet age as I’ve said before. As it stands right now there don’t appear to be any reporting restrictions in place for this particular case which has had the effect that it’s been talked about on TV, radio, newspapers and, of course, blogs and 99% of what’s been said is very much along the lines of “let’s lynch her now” as you’d probably expect.

However, there’s also the not so small matter that she hasn’t been convicted yet so is rechnically innocent of the charges at the moment. That’s as it should be, of course, since the whole British legal system is built on the premise that people are considered until a case is proven against them. You might think that with all the public outrage that she couldn’t possibly be truly innocent of all those things that she’s been charged with but it does happen. After all, people have been arrested for taking photos of their own children before now and they’re generally laughed at when they reach the courtroom.

The vast majority of people have only heard, at best, second hand reports of the charges. They haven’t even heard second hand accounts of the evidence. Don’t forget that the grandmother I referred to above was charged with producing pornography yet it turned out she was doing nothing of the sort when the evidence was examined.

Are you still prepared to say that Vanessa George is guilty having merely heard an account of the charges against her?

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