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International Miscarriage of Justice

There is an important extract from John Waters' story
Through the evolution of media custom and practice, however, a situation has developed whereby the very mention of “childcare proceedings” or “family law” is enough to have media lawyers and editors running for cover. Even though it is very often abundantly clear that the only purpose being served by a blanket suppression of information is the protection of judges, lawyers, State agencies and professionals, media practitioners continue to impose an interpretation of the in camera rule that implicitly assumes these outcomes to be legitimate.

This applies to the irish rules, however.#

He goes on to say
Such interpretations of the legal situation are grossly inimical to the interests of democracy.

Something deeply ugly is happening at the heart of our society and the manner of its governance in the most intimate areas of human life.

If social workers from a foreign jurisdiction are enabled to run whooping and high-fiving from an Irish courtroom because they have been permitted to snatch the child of a blameless Irish mother, is it not time we asked what is happening?

The media offers the only forum in which such questions can be put. Media practitioners therefore have a sacred duty to take their courage in their hands and shine harsh searchlights on those who are empowered to intervene in the intimate lives of citizens to a close-to-absolute degree.

If we cannot report on such matters, why bother reporting anything?

Does it matter whether the economy functions?

Why should we care who sits in Leinster House?

Whatever happened to “publish and be damned”?

Are we journalists or entertainers?

How seriously do we take our role in democratic society?

Are we concerned with the public consequences of the events we write about, or simply seeking adequately interesting material to fill space and time to shift “product”?

Unless journalists and editors are prepared to address these questions, we may as well pull the blinds down on the enterprise of journalism and leave the protection of our democracy to the bloggers and tweeters, who at least have the excuse of having no responsibility for what happens to human freedom.


Jerry said…
If the media were allowed more access to the case rather than just turning up to court and witnessing the odd hearing then I believe the media would report more, when the press enter a court room the situation changes for just that hearing, when the media do not turn up to the subsequent hearings for what ever reasons then the judge allows normal service to resume.

I know theres plenty of Members of Paliamnet and ministers who really want to make a change to the system only they have no clue how to achieve this, what happens then is something else takes over.

Theres a few select comittiees set up and differnt government committees like CARE MATTERS set up and running but these are facing the same problems there's not one simple problem that needs fixing, when they meet every 4 to five months or so its not going to achieve any changes, like the current care review currently being under taken, its going to take at least two years for any minute changes to take effect.

It needs to be tackled head on, the buck stops with the justice system.

Judges who don't judge, Social Workers who don't work and Guardians who don't guard.


Oh yeah the Media would not touch my own case with a barge pole, even though what they see is completely wrong.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

I have only just found this one which I think is accurately reported below (but if it is not please give me an accurate report).


R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

Here, the magistrates’ clerk retired with the bench when they were considering a charge of dangerous driving. The clerk belonged to a firm of solicitors acting in civil proceedings for the other party to the accident. It was entirely irrelevant that there had been no evidence of actual influence brought to bear on the magistrates, and the conviction was duly quashed.

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