Friday, December 18, 2009 

The TRUTH strikes back.

The joy of new comment on old posts, redux. I'm not sure whether The TRUTH is related to a headline in a newspaper some while ago, but it might explain something:


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009 

Scum-watch: So, farewell then, Rebekah Wade...

Good riddance then to Rebekah Wade (or, according to the Graun, Rebekah Brooks, as she is now apparently calling herself since her recent wedding), who will be moving "upstairs" in News International in a long mooted move and one that she herself has long been lobbying for.

This isn't the place as yet for a long consideration of her time as editor of the biggest selling newspaper in the country, but it remains the case that for the most part Wade proved to be a less controversial editor than her time at the News of the World suggested she would be. The main bungles which did happen during her watch, which included her "BONKERS BRUNO LOCKED UP" front page splash, to say nothing of the time she was arrested after drunkenly slapping her former husband are not much to write home about when you consider the Sun's history, especially while Kelvin MacKenzie was editor.

That's not to say that Wade was a non-entity as editor, far from it. She kept up her campaign for "Sarah's law", legislation which children's charities themselves oppose as either unproved or potentially putting them further at risk as paedophiles head even further underground. Other campaigns have included almost yearly rages against the Human Rights Act, which it has repeatedly lied about and slandered, repeated demands that the detention limit for "terrorist suspects" be extended, whether to 90 or 42 days, with the paper the first time round denouncing those who voted against as "traitors", constant moaning that sentences are not long enough and that more prison places are essential, even when Labour has vastly lengthened and expanded both, and more recently, hysterical scaremongering, both about knife crime and Britain being "broken", as well as a horrendous campaign "for" Baby P, which resulted in two of those involved in his case considering suicide. That isn't to mention other quite wonderful journalistic successes, such as the claim back in January that "radical Muslims" were targeting Jews such as Alan Sugar, which led to legal action being taken, or last year's "IVF twins were dumped because they're girls", which was untrue on almost every count.

All this said, the Sun has certainly become to an extent more liberal during Wade's tenure. Whether this is down to her or because in general society is becoming more tolerant is unclear, but the paper which not so long back was leading campaigns against the possibility of Julian Clary becoming host of the Generation Game because of his sexuality, or which asked on its front page whether the country was being run by a "gay mafia" has moved on. During the Big Brother racism scandal it ran a front page, which although somewhat hypocritical, was the sort of thing it would have never done only a few years ago. It still loathes asylum seekers, failed or otherwise, but that's hardly unique in the tabloid world. Both the Daily Mail and Express are far more reactionary than the Sun on almost all of these matters.

The Sun still matters most though because of its sale and its influence. While the Mail may be catching up, or even caught up, the Sun is still courted by politicians looking for the nod of approval from Rupert Murdoch. He is, after all, the real power behind the throne, and any editor of any of his papers is only following the rules put down by him. His recent comments about David Cameron, that he has to be a second Thatcher if he's to gain his full approval, showed just how politicians have to portray and present themselves to get support. It should be remembered that this is a man who has no vote in this country, who has in the past made it his task to pay as little tax in this country as possible, and who is fundamentally unaccountable to anyone other than himself. Whoever becomes the next editor of the paper, and no one seems to have any idea who it's likely to be, the real power will not lie with he or she.

Update: Stan points out the in comments that I forgot about the Alfie Patten non-story, which also should go down as one of her worst moments.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 

A night to dismember.

Billed as her first major speech in six years, or rather appearance, as the Sun's editor, Rebekah Wade, is notoriously shy of the limelight, the invitation for her to deliver this year's Hugh Cudlipp lecture was a curious one. Although the press is too coy to mention it, the real reason why Wade has not defended her newspaper in person when controversy has surrounded it, instead sending out Grahan Dudman to do it, is for fear that she'd embarrass herself, as she did when she rather unfortunately told the truth to a parliamentary committee by saying that her paper paid the police for information. Then there was of course her arrest and night spent in the cells for whacking her then husband, Ross Kemp, after a night on the booze. Again, interestingly, most of the media connived to cover up her split from Kemp, with Private Eye reporting that Les Hinton had phoned round the papers pleading with them not to report on it. For an editor whom in her speech defends vigorously the right to print whatever the hell she likes about those supposedly in the public eye, this strikes as rather hypocritical behaviour.

There is perhaps though another reason why Wade has not ventured into the public gaze for the past few years, which quickly becomes apparent when you read the actual content of her speech: she has nothing of any great interest to say. You don't need to be an intellectual to edit an newspaper, and Wade is probably excellent at what she does, but an orator or a debater she is obviously not. Compared to Paul Dacre, who likewise is supposedly shy of the limelight, his speeches, which included the very same lecture a couple of years back, are furious and infuriating by equal measure. He might be completely wrong, and arrogant and insulting with it, but he can argue his point well enough. Wade however lacks the courage or self-belief to adequately cover the contradictions throughout, leaving gaping holes in her material.

She might well have been then as Roy Greenslade suggests, charming in person, but none of that comes across in the somewhat disjointed full text offered by both the Guardian and the Press Gazette. Starting on somewhat surer ground, she illustrates that those cutting costs without reinvesting the savings back into journalism itself are the ones that are losing the most sales. Unsurprisingly, the Mirror and the Daily Star are the ones that have lost the most sales over the past year. Even this though leaves out some other much needed explanatory detail: Wade doesn't mention that her own paper has reignited the vicious price war, with the paper selling for just 20p across London and the south-east. As has been noted time and again, because of Murdoch's other vast interests, he can afford to do so; his competitors simply can't, and attempting to compete is beyond stupid. Naturally, Richard Desmond has therefore slashed the cost of the Star to... 20p. Although December is always a quiet month for newspapers sales, the Sun fell below 3 million last month, just as it did in 2007. Across the board though all of the tabloids are declining, and falling at far faster rates than their broadsheets rivals and sisters. It indicates the inevitable: that as the internet increasingly takes over as the main source for the celeb tittle-tattle, scandal-mongering and populist wittering which they specialise in, the tabloids are facing the end of their business models. The broadsheets, by contrast, although still giving away their content, can survive thanks to their quality and reader dedication, which simply isn't there among the red-tops and middle-market.

Wade's rallying cry then, that it will be "the quality of our journalism [that] makes or breaks our industry, not the recession", is one of those statements that makes you wonder if she really knows what she's saying. Just the recent Glen Jenvey incident, when the paper splashed on a complete untrue concocted story which accused completely innocent Muslims of being extremists, shows how much it cares about accuracy. It's no surprise to learn that a new poll found that only 19% of those questioned in this country had trust in newspapers. This is a direct consequence of the tabloids' often irresponsible and downright untrue journalism, which unfairly infects opinion of other newspapers and broadcasters, yet still editors like Dacre and Wade defend their "quality" despite its effects.

Wade's second theme, campaigning journalism, offers us her insight into both the recent Baby P affair and the more notorious "naming and shaming" of paedophiles she directed while editor of the News of the World, but first she mentions the paper's continuing support for the Help for Heroes charity, including her own trip to a base in Helmand. She describes a warm welcome and how everyone was wearing the wristbands, but this jars somewhat with the far more cynical views of the newspaper on the Army Reserve Rumour Service message board in response to the paper's Military Awards, which Wade also mentions, and which readers themselves also seemed less than overwhelmed with. She takes credit for the increasing support for the army and turnout at parades, without providing any evidence whatsoever that it was the Sun "wot did it". Similarly, while she calls for more reporting of the war in Afghanistan, she doesn't mention that her paper's own coverage of it never for so much of a second doubts that it's for a good cause or that the battle is being won. Whenever the topic is discussed in the paper's leader column, it inevitably turns to the argument that fighting the Taliban makes us safer, when again there is evidence to suggest the opposite is the case. Blind loyalty is all that it has to offer, when constructive criticism is always the best policy.

Moving on to Sarah's law, what becomes clear is Wade's utter refusal to take responsibility, both for her own actions, and also for the actions of those who read her newspaper and decide to take the law into their own hands. Illuminating firstly is that it came about after she arrived unannounced on Sara Payne's doorstep; not apparently concerned about whether either she or her husband were in a fit state to be interviewed, or to set in motion what became a crusade which if implemented would most likely have the opposite effect to that which is intended, Wade immediately had her witch-hunt. Her own contempt for the truth is also apparent when she castigates the other media for its reporting of what happened on one Portsmouth estate:

Parts of the media went on the attack with a blatant disregard for the facts of the campaign or more importantly their readers’ opinions on the matter.

After we published the first list, a group of mothers from an impoverished housing estate in Portsmouth took to the streets to protest. The BBC described them as ‘an angry lynch mob’.

What the BBC did not report was that the mothers had just discovered that Victor Burnett, a paedophile with 14 convictions for raping and abusing young boys between the ages of four and nine, had been rehoused amongst them unmonitored by the authorities.

Totally unaware of his background, the residents had complained for years about Burnett’s inappropriate behaviour towards their children but their voices, until then, had remained unheard.

How else should the media have described protests such as these, as reported by the Telegraph:

The torch paper was lit by the naming of Victor Burnett, a convicted serial child abuser, in the News of the World: he was a resident of Paulsgrove and was hounded from his home by a chanting mob. Events moved out of control: the rest of Britain looked on in horror and fascination as windows were smashed, cars burned, and angelic, banner-waving five-year-olds happily chanted words that sounded ugly falling from childish mouths. "Sex case, sex case. Hang 'em, hang 'em, hang 'em." Five families were moved from the estate: the police said that none had links with sex offences.

There was no evidence that Burnett had re-offended while on Paulsgrove, but at least he was correctly identified: others had their houses burgled, windows smashed and their cars set on fire. Wade calls the "naming and shaming" her responsibility, which it was. She however hides behind the readers themselves, critical of how others disregarded "readers' opinions", as if readers' opinions are always unimpeachable or always right. As Nick Davies pointed out in Flat Earth News, one of the rules of production is giving the readers what they want, but what
you think the readers want is not always the same thing. The key is that it's cheap, while challenging orthodoxy is expensive and unpredictable.

That Wade has no interest in the ultimate consequences of her own actions could not be more illustrated by the end result of the paper's Baby P campaign. Here's how she describes it:

Campaigns provide a unique connection to the public especially when the subject matter is of a serious nature.For me, nothing can illustrate this connection better than our recent Baby P campaign.

The public outcry was deafening. And we began our fight for justice with a determination to expose the lack of accountability and responsibility for Baby P’s brutal death.

We delivered 1.5 million signatures to Downing Street and the collective power worked.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls was forced to use emergency legislation to ensure that those responsible were held to account. We received many many thousands of letters at The Sun about our Baby P coverage.

I’d like to read you one: ‘I have never been a huge fan of The Sun, however I thank you for the coverage of Baby P. I am so grateful for the campaign. This is not a modern day witch-hunt but a petition for justice. Please, please do not relent.'

In contrast, I’d like to quote from an article in... The Guardian.

“Full of fury and repellent hysteria, but isn’t that part of the game? This is less about the creation of public emotion and more about its manipulation."

This knee-jerk tabloid kicking reaction is just dull.

But total disregard and respect for public opinion never ceases to amaze me.

They demanded accountability.

And as a result of the campaign, some, just some, of those responsible were removed from office without compensation.

Or as this Sun reader wrote: ‘The tabloid press, which the arty-farty press like to look down on so much, has shown that it prides morality over political correctness.’

Again, there's the lack of evidence that Shoesmith and others wouldn't have been suspended or sacked if the Sun hadn't ran its campaign. Some sort of action was always going to be taken. Again, Wade hides behind supposed public opinion: it's what "they" want, not what she wants or what's good for Murdoch's bank balance. It's not about directing the blame onto other people because those actually responsible for Baby P's death couldn't be named and demonised themselves because the cogs of justice are still whirring in connected cases, it's about so-called justice, or even morality. The result? A new boss has been installed in Haringey, on double what Sharon Shoesmith was earning, while the borough is now so desperate for social workers that the head of the department made an appeal across London for some to be lent him. Children less safe, those who worked on the case who were already likely distraught had their lives ruined, and now the service, what's left of it, costs more. A more ringing endorsement of a Sun justice campaign could hardly be imagined, and yet still Wade feels fit to quote a reader who invokes morality. This so-called morality was presumably what lead the comment sections on the Sun's articles to be shut down, where previously already suicidal social workers had been encouraged to kill themselves. The only more immoral paper in this country is the Daily Mail.

Filled with such chutzpah, it's little wonder that Wade then goes on to make an even more outrageous statement, this time involving press freedom:

This country is full of regulators, lawyers and politicians eager to frame and implement legislation that would constrain freedoms hard won over centuries.

We are already losing those freedoms. Privacy legislation is being created by the drip, drip of case law in the High Court without any reference to parliament.

This from the editor of an newspaper which as the Heresiarch has already pointed out, has never so much as raised its voice once against this government's incessant attacks on civil liberties. In fact, on nearly every occasion it's supported them, whether it be ID cards, detention without trial or its constant bugbear, the Human Rights Act, which it opposed while the government introduced it. She's also completely wrong: parliament passed the HRA, which now so apparently threatens the tabloids' and their dying business model by potentially restricting the scandals they can report. This is also an issue on which public opinion is not necessarily on their side: few cared about Max Mosley, or even knew who he was until the News of the World exposed him while blackmailing the women who spanked him. The HRA doesn't affect real scandal, like the already monikered "Erminegate", which is why no one other than the tabloids and their editors care, and why the Guardian was completely right to print Mosley's own views on press freedom, which she criticises, no doubt intending to be humourous, as "self-flagellation". When she talks about quality, a old man being spanked by prostitutes is the sort of story she means.

Having regaled stories about how much the Sun listens to its readers, she concludes with a few questions which can be happily answered:

We need to ask ourselves: Can we unite to fight against a privacy law that has no place in a democracy?

Obviously not, as firstly there isn't one, isn't going to be one, and even if there was, it wouldn't be supported when it would only cover sex scandals involving celebrities. Next!

Can we agree that self-regulation is the best way to deal with the occasional excesses of a free press?

No, not when the regulator is completely toothless and cannot impose financial sanctions or front page apologies on newspapers when the "excesses" are serious enough, as they often are.

Can we have a press that has the courage and commitment to listen to and fight for its readers?

Not when no thought is put into whether the consequences of that courage and commitment will actually result in a positive outcome.

Can we survive this economic climate if we keep investment in journalism at the heart of what we do?

Not if what you call journalism is whatever's on the front page of tomorrow's Sun (Jade Goody and a footballer being interviewed about a rape).

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Monday, January 26, 2009 

A true victims' champion.

It's a truly inspirational choice on the part of government to make Sara Payne "victims' champion" for just one simple reason. If she was to get her way, the one thing you can rest assured there would be is more victims. Payne's campaign, thankfully mostly frustrated, has been to introduce a version of Megan's law in this country. The NSPCC published an extensive report which looked in detail into the evidence for whether the law had worked - and found that there was nothing to suggest that any child had been made safer as a result. On the contrary, there is evidence to suggest the opposite - that registration levels of sex offenders, which had previously been over 90%, had dropped to 80%, while the recording of vigilante attacks against those "named and shamed" was hardly bothered with. When the purpose of the law is to make offenders more visible and children as a result safer, that seems as close to failing as it's possible to imagine.

Payne's appointment if anything seems to be a government attempt to deflect flak. Having already buttered her up by giving her an MBE in the New Year's honours, she's doubtless to be more inclined to defend the government than say, a Helen Newlove. She's already stated that she thought she was treated excellently by the system, while Newlove complained bitterly about her experience. Whenever a tabloid now complains about how shoddy the criminal justice system is, they can point to Payne and say look, we are doing something, honest!

While Blair's mission to "rebalance the justice system in favour of the victim" has been quietly abandoned under Brown, again thankfully, Payne's appointment is still the hint that the government is beholden to the view that the criminals have it all their own way and that prison is now comparable to a stay in a more regimental, same-sex Butlins. Louise Casey's report last year, the introduction of the "community payback" jackets, and Payne's own view that it's the criminals who have all the organisations supporting them, similar to comments by Jack Straw late last year about the "criminal justice lobby", are all part of the government's attempts to try to fight this increasingly popular opinion while still giving succour to it. Along with the deliberate suffocation of individual liberties, the casual attitude towards things such as the principle of being innocent until proven guilty, as well as the increasing implication that rights are things which only criminals and terrorists have, this all invariably leads to the same ultimate conclusions: that prison works, that it's better to be safe than be sorry and that suggesting the opposite is approaching seditious. The CJS can and should be improved, and victims' rights as well as those of the accused have to be respected, but nothing whatsoever is to be gained by pretending that until convicted one has more than the other.

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Monday, March 03, 2008 

Scum-watch: Obsessed with Sarah's law.

I wondered last week why the disappearance of Shannon Matthews hasn't captured either the public or press attention in the way that the vanishing of Madeleine McCann so dominated last year's conciousness.

The Sun, probably because of its massive working-class readership, has been the only newspaper to really pay the story any lingering attention, and last Saturday was the first to offer a reward for information leading to her return. Less welcome is this revolting conflating of Matthews' disappearance with campaigns past:

There is of course no evidence whatsoever as of yet that Matthews has even been abducted or is being held against her will, although that seems the most obvious explanation outside of her dying in the elements with her body yet to be found, let alone anything to suggest that she has been kidnapped by someone not known to her and who also happens to be a sex offender. The police have instead been making inquiries into the Matthews family itself, and her mother has said that her faith and trust in friends and wider family is being tested. No case though is apparently fresh enough or less instantly supportive of such a busted flush for the Sun to try and take advantage of it for its own ends.

Elsewhere the Sun reports on a poll, that shock horror, finds the proportion of Portuguese that think the police have conducted the Madeleine investigation well has dropped by 30%, although 60% still think that they've done a good job. Perhaps if Matthews isn't found in a year's time a similar poll can be conducted here to see if the results follow the same trajectory. That though would be against the unimpeachable British police, unlike the swarthy foreign layabouts in charge over in Praia da Luz.

Oh, and no coverage of Harry's return could possibly reach any lower than the Scum's exclusive of Prince Harry recording a goat being slaughtered for Christmas dinner.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007 

String 'em up by the goolies.

Despite the misleading banner headlines promoting Reid's proposals for changes to how sex offenders are managed in the community - paedophiles are not going to get the "chop", as the Scum for one put it; they'll be increasingly offered chemical castration, with the key-word being chemical, as those that agree to it will be injected with the libido-limiting drug Leuprorelin, also known as a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist, at least according to the Scum, with others mentioning anti-depressants potentially being used as well - they were mostly reasonably sane, considered and not wildly populist, despite warnings earlier in the year that Reid was leaning towards tabloid pleasing measures.

Most controversial, apart from the proposed expansion of "chemical castration", which has yet to be fully detailed and explained in any case, will be the introduction of a sort of "Sarah's law", and the decision to make lie-detector tests compulsory.

More or less unchanged since it was publicised earlier in the year, the changes will especially allow single parents to request whether their new partner has an entry on the sex offenders' register, or any past convictions of a similar nature. This is mainly to deal with the perception and fear that predatory paedophiles are moving in on vulnerable single mothers in order to get to their children. The biggest concern over this has to be that the mother then, quite legitimately, it has to be said, then informs the whole local community of what's happened, or what she thinks might have been about to happen, and the problem is either simply shifted, with the man then forced into moving away, or with the ugliness of vigilantism then coming into play. The great difficult will be in proving that the man actually had any ill intentions, making a prosecution unlikely. It also poses the exact problem which Sarah's law has threatened: predatory paedophiles forced even further underground, made more likely to snatch and abuse, or rape on the spur of the moment, exacerbating the danger to children. Reid mentions that those who did disclose information given them could be charged with a public order offence, but it doesn't seem much of a deterrent, and a prosecution is hardly likely to be popular. It is a far better, more careful proposal than a blanket Sarah's law based on Megan's law would be, but it's still potentially counterproductive.

Compulsory lie-detector tests are objectionable on an entirely different point, being that while they can be a good indicator of someone lying, that they can also be notoriously inaccurate. provides a number of excellent, sourced rebuttals and details behind the tests which show that they can and often have got it horribly wrong. Even if they are right 90% of the time, that still means that 10% are going to suffer further restrictions after being released for no good reason; embittering someone isn't the best way to reintroduce them into a community. Chemical castration is also by no means a panacea,as David Wilson on CiF vividly describes.

The proposals for a campaign to be launched fighting some of the myths around child abuse is much more welcome. The hysteria and fear of paedophiles, which used to be known more quaintly when I was a child as "stranger danger", continues to grow. The evidence of this could not be more epitomised than by the treatment meted out to Timothy Martin, variously described as a "pervert" and a "paedophile", even by the BBC. He didn't help his case by refusing to move out of a house in the grounds of a primary school, where he had been appointed as a caretaker, but the facts behind the case have been rather more buried. He was charged and convicted of sexual assault: while drunk, he had made a pass at and kissed a 14-year-old girl, the step-daughter of a friend. The judge in the case said:

You made a pass at an underage girl. To be kissed by a man she hardly knew was something she was not ready for and it has worried her.

"I think you were just drunk and being extremely badly behaved."

His sentence was a two-year community order, a 12-month supervision order, banned from contacting the victim, disqualified from working with children indefinitely and must sign the sex offenders register for five years. Maybe I'm a liberal bleeding heart, and there was more to it than that, but that seems ever so slightly harsh for what seems to have been little more than someone drunk behaving lecherously.

The danger is that we're overreacting. The figure earlier in the week of 8,000 sex offenders being given cautions didn't breakdown the reasons why a caution was given; it seemed like an attempt at scaremongering about wicked people getting off scot free, which as the police had to point out, was not the case at all. Some of the cases no doubt involved teenagers having sex with girlfriends/boyfriends slightly below the age of consent, and other minor offences, which as Jim Gamble pointed out, are best dealt with without automatically locking every single person found guilty up.

I also don't like calling campaigners, however well-intentioned but potentially misguided names, especially those who have suffered so terribly through crimes committed against those in their family, but this comment from Sara Payne, mother of the murdered Sarah, needs challenging:

“We never asked for Megan’s Law in this country. We never believed that Megan’s Law would work in this country. We only ever asked for access to information about predatory paedophiles in our areas."

This is a fucking lie. Ever since the News of the Screws, under the helm of now Sun editor Rebekah Wade launched their campaign for "Sarah's law", Sara Payne has supported it. Both the Screws and Scum have demanded an exact copy of Megan's law, the Scum going to the trouble earlier in the year to put together a leading questionnaire for its readers to demand "Sarah's law" in full, rather than the limited scheme which the Home Office was putting forward. I have nothing but sympathy for Mrs Payne, but to willfully distort exactly what she has campaigned for over the last 7 years is unacceptable.

The Scum's leader is just as forthright as ever, too:

Punish pervs

THE thought of castration sends a shiver down the spine of normal men.

But child killers and rapists are not normal. They are incorrigible and dangerous perverts.

Some might argue castration is too good for them.

The Sun of course rejects the idea that such perverts can be rehabilitated. Some argue that once a man has hit a woman in anger that he'll always be a domestic abuser, and that the woman should leave him as a result: a decision it took Ross Kemp a while to make.

Cheap shots aside, Reid has at least recognised that even these measures need to be put to trial first: 3 such schemes are to operate before any legislation is put forward, which is welcome. If the proposals are shown to work, then fears like that expressed in this post will be willingly dropped. Such blanket demands as that voiced earlier in the year though should not be rushed through on the basis of these limited ones working; trying to help too much can be just as dangerous as doing too little.

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Friday, April 27, 2007 

Scum-watch: If in doubt, turn the emotion up to 11.

After a couple of weeks of silence over the faltering Sun campaign to introduce Sarah's law, the paper's decided to turn the emotion and sympathy factor up to 11. It today interviews the parents' of the girl abducted and raped by Craig Sweeney, who was last year at the centre of the Scum's outrage at "soft" judges, after he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 5 years. Their bilious response, which John Reid responded to like a dog to a whistle, most likely directly led to the attorney general not increasing Sweeney's sentence. In fact, this isn't the first time the parents of "J" have talked to the Sun about their plight; they did so back in February as well.

ANGELA fights back a torrent of tears as she places two photographs of her precious daughter side by side.

The first, taken in 2005, is a cameo of childhood innocence — sparkling blue eyes looking out from a beautiful, beaming face.

The second, taken a year later, is a terrible testament to the horrific ordeal suffered by the youngster — referred to here as “J” to protect her identity.

Her smile has been replaced by a haunted grimace and dark circles sit under her eyes.

Angela says: “I wish the world could see these pictures so people could understand how this monster devastated our little girl’s life.

“People have said her experience was not dissimilar to that of Sarah Payne, Holly Wells or Jessica Chapman — but because J survived she seems to be forgotten.”

Well, no, she hasn't been forgotten, mainly because the Sun especially has felt the need to keep reminding us that Sweeney was personally found with the blood of J on his hands. It clearly was a horrific case, and one for which Sweeney shouldn't and I would assume won't be released as a result for a very long time, despite his minimum tariff. Why keep reminding both yourselves and your daughter herself of the tragedy though? The very thing that will help J to recover from this experience is to deal with it and then move on - you can be angry about it, you can want to change the law, as they seem to want to, but it's not going to change what's happened, and it's not going to help her recover unless they themselves are prepared to consider that bringing it up constantly is anathema to trying to forget, even if you are highlighting the seeming individual mistakes and errors which have occurred.

Angela, 35, is referring to J’s abduction by convicted paedophile Craig Sweeney.

He snatched the tot, then aged three, from her home on January 2 last year and drove her 12 miles to his bail hostel in Newport. He then sexually assaulted her before driving east down the M4 and attacking her again in a lay-by near Swindon then again in the town.

He eventually lost control of the car on the A4 nearly 90 miles from J’s home during a high-speed chase with police. She was thrown from the vehicle just before it overturned and plunged down an embankment.

It's worth wondering then, considering that Sweeney was living 12 miles away, whether the family would have been informed about his release under the proposed Sarah's law that the Sun is campaigning for. On the basis of the Sun's own questionnaire, which it used to try to canvass support for Sarah's law, seeing as J was yet to go to school and Sweeney wasn't living next door or in the immediate surroundings of where they lived, he wouldn't have been known to them. Even if an exact replica of Megan's law were to be introduced, her parents would have either have had to hear the news that Sweeney was back in the area through word of mouth, an article in the local paper or searching on the internet itself. This is of course all being wise after the fact: it's simply impossible to know whether a version of Megan's law would have stopped Sweeney from snatching J.

Angela recalls the fateful winter evening which ended normal family life.

She says: “I’d known Sweeney since he was a lad. He used to do odd jobs for us and I hadn’t seen him for years, but this night he knocked on the door and said he was calling on old friends.

“We now know he had been in prison for child sex offences — but then I had no idea what sort of person he really was.

Which suggests that Sweeney's actions were premeditated, targeting those he'd known while young that wouldn't suspect anything. It also makes it likely, seeing as they weren't aware of his convictions, which would have almost certainly appeared in the local press, that they wouldn't have known any different if a form of Sarah's law had been enshrined in law, unless the details had been plastered everywhere, something that even the Home Office doesn't seem to be in favour of.

Angela and her partner James, 36, a self-employed businessman, dialled 999, giving police Sweeney’s name and car details.

A simple touch of a computer key should have flagged up his serious sex offender status.

But the couple later learned a detective misspelled “Sweeney”, rendering the checks useless.

A simple police mistake then tragically delayed the response. There's not much we can do about human error.

Failings in the police investigation were admitted last week after a long battle by J’s parents.

A superintendent and an inspector from South Wales Police were formally reprimanded.

It goes on, describing the disturbed state of J now, and the failings to even get her into treatment. It seems she might benefit from seeing a child psychiatrist rather than a counsellor, at least at first, which could be reasonably quickly arranged if they went to her GP, but whether they've tried to do so or not is unclear.

James says: “Critics say it would send paedophiles underground but probation services aren’t monitoring them properly at the moment anyway.

“Because Sweeney was loosely known to us we would undoubtedly have been made aware of his previous convictions for child abuse long before he got to J.

“If nothing else, Sarah’s Law would make offenders think twice about what they are about to do.”

That seems doubtful; someone who's as prepared and as blatant as Sweeney was is always going to be difficult to stop, with a law such as Sarah's or not.

As is usual with such articles on the Sun, we're then treated to perfect examples of what might well happen to alleged paedophiles if a law like that the Sun is campaigning for is introduced:

If that evil piece of **** ever gets out of prison, I hope you raise a fund to pay for a mercinary/bounty hunter/anyone to kill him, But do it slowly so that he dies slowly and in the worst pain Imaginable, Sweeney is a danger who cant be corrected and there is no point keeping him in jail for ever, so the best option is to put him to death, But inflict pain doing it so that he has some Idea of the pain he has caused to his victims, An innocent child and her family.

Castration using 2 house bricks then a lobotomy before locking this ******* up for life is still too lenient.

Why not go the whole hog and gouge his eyes out, sew his testicles into the sockets and tattoo "NONCE" on his forehead?

Or invent a collar that electrocutes there bits as soon as they get aroused that will show em.

Mongrels like this should be left to rot in a very deep hole somewhere! The critics who oppose Sarah's law (god rest her wee soul & that of Holly & Jessica) make me wonder why they oppose it, their excuse is that it'll drive those amoeba's underground?

Could it not be the case that they're against it more for their own interests?

Obviously. There's a five-year-old boy fellating me as I type this. The same reason is undoubtedly why Barnardo's and the NSPCC oppose Sarah's law as well.
Microchip them and put mc readers on sale (10+ meters reach). That way every parent who wants to know will be able to find out where the danger is.
this man should be locked away in a cell all to himself and the government should let each one the little girls family members take it in turn to show him PAIN

Don't know how anyone cud hav done this to a 3 year old girl sick ****.. If he does get out everyone should remember his face then teach him a lesson if they see him n i dont just mean beat him up.. i mean really abuse the **** n see how he likes it then kill him after wards its wat he deserves and if the law wont do it someone else should..

I wouldn't have any objection to Sarah's law if it had been objectively shown that it helps to protect children; as it is, all the evidence from America suggests that it further encourages vigilantism, puts children at more risk as less sex offenders comply with their probation restrictions as a result, and potentially puts the innocent at risk through the potential to be misidentified. We've recently learned that the investigations behind Operation Ore have been allegedly fatally flawed, with potentially hundreds of men the victims of miscarriages of justice. These are the same people that would find themselves named and shamed as a result of their convictions, further ruining their lives. To the Sun readers' who write such detailed descriptions of exactly what they'd do to a paedophile if they ever had one in a locked room, and indeed the editor herself, who has never shown any concern over what happened as a result of her previous naming and shaming escapade, it seems that this would be of little concern.

Elsewhere, the Scum willfully decides to mislead the public of the true level of crime:

Robberies are UP. Vandalism is UP. Drug offences are UP.

But if you believe police records, the crime rate is DOWN.

Reported offences have fallen over the last three months, with 4,000 fewer acts of violence.

The figures have been welcomed by ministers.

Interestingly, they usually prefer the British Crime Survey of householders which gives a softer impression of criminal activity.

But the latest poll shows levels of violence unchanged — while vandalism is up by 11 per cent.

The survey also reveals the chances of becoming a victim of crime have risen.

Yes, by a whopping 1% (PDF), which was the same percentage chance as the previous quarter of the year. The Sun decides not to bother to mention that the chance of being a victim of crime as recorded by the BCS is still at a historic low: it was 40% in 1995, now it's 24%. Gun crime, one of the issues that the Sun doesn't waste an opportunity to launch a moral panic about, was also shown to have dropped by 16% over the year, a decrease of 1,761 offences, to 9,513.

Next, let's undermine both the police and BCS figures purely because it fits the Sun's tough on crime agenda:

So who do you believe?

The answer is neither.

The British Crime Survey is flawed because it excludes murder, sex attacks and crimes against shops.

This is plain bullshit. It excludes murder and sex attacks for the simple reason that they're rare, and are better recorded as a result by the police themselves, while crimes against shops are not crimes against the person, as personal experience of crime is what the whole methodology of the BCS is based on.

As for police records, thousands of punters no longer bother to report muggings or assaults.

They rarely result in a charge, still less a courtroom conviction.

Punters? Surely citizens? As for not reporting them, shouldn't the Sun be urging the public to do so regardless so that we do get a true picture of crime in the country?

So if your impression is that crime is rising, you are probably right

Which goes some way to explaining why faith in the criminal justice system is shown by the BCS to be declining. Ministers say it needs re-balancing, the tabloids scream that the judges are soft, those working within it become demoralised, and so we have a self-fulfilling prophecy. All in a day's work.

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Monday, April 16, 2007 

Scum-watch: Any case will do to justify Sarah's law.

Today's Scum goes all out in another effort to try to justify Sarah's law, highlighting a troubling crime, but not one that in any way helps to make the case for the naming and shaming law:

A PAEDOPHILE teacher sacked for sex attacks on two pupils got a job as a SCHOOL BUS DRIVER and went on to molest four other boys.

Vile Neil Scott, 57, was on List 99, which stopped him working in schools.

He had been sacked from Holmewood House public school in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, in 1986 and spent four years teaching abroad.

When he returned he got a job as a bus driver. But the Heritage bus firm did not have any work for schools at the time, and his background was not checked, Guildford Crown Court heard.

When the company won a contract to ferry pupils in Crawley, West Sussex, he was put straight on the school run without any further checks.

Right, so if it's anyone's fault, it's the failure of the company to check the background of its employees once it had gained such a contract. How a law based on Megan's law would have helped is unclear. Parents rarely have any contact with school bus drivers, and they often don't live in the areas where the children themselves do. There cannot be eyes everywhere all of the time; this is why background checks on those seeking jobs working with children are far more important that a blunt law which the Sun wants.

The editorial takes it a step further:

YET another paedophile slips through the net to land a job driving a school bus.

But the latest case — the third The Sun has exposed this year — is particularly shocking.

Actually, this is the only case in which the driver has abused children. The other two cases the Sun highlighted were only of drivers that had previous offenses but had not taken advantage of their position in any way. The second driver exposed was especially controversial, as he had committed his offense when he was either 17 or 18, and the victim had been under 14 (probably meaning she was 13), with the driver now aged 35.

He was on a list of banned teachers — but his bus firm knew nothing about that, and the checks they made turned up nothing.

This directly contradicts the Scum's own report. Which is it?

The kind of openness a fully-fledged Sarah’s Law would bring about would prevent paedophiles from sneaking into jobs where they can prey on children.

The watered-down version the Government favours will not offer our kids the same protection.

In fact, as the experience from the US shows us, Sarah's law would most likely encourage even more secrecy. The Sun is proposing Sarah's law as if it would be a panacea, when there is absolutely no evidence to suggest it would be. Rebekah Wade may have her heart in the right place, but the obsession with protecting children at all costs, while building hysteria and fear at the same time does nothing whatsoever to deal with the real problem of what to do both to prevent abuse and then to deal with both the abused and the abusers.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007 

Scum-watch: Even more mendacious than a banana republic.

Will anyone take today's Sun front page seriously? Seeing as it couldn't exactly splash on the continuing fallout surrounding the decision to allow the captured sailors to sell their stories, it was left to highlight the truly amazing response to its online poll, which resulted in according to the article, 99% of respondents "demanding" Sarah's law.

As noted yesterday, the poll was hardly going to deliver any other outcome than the one that Wade wanted. Not only were the questions loaded so heavily that if you disagreed with them you ended up looking like an apologist for child abuse or just an idiot, but there wasn't even a don't know option offered so that you could disagree entirely with the methodology used.

It's often noted that a 99% result in favour of one motion or party is a sure sign of a dictatorship or a banana republic, with either vote rigging or plain mendacity being involved, and there's certainly nothing here to suggest that the Sun should not be tarred with the same brush. The one surprise of the poll is that only 84% felt that the human rights of paedophiles mattered less than their "potential" victims, which either goes to show that Sun readers' are more in favour of universal human rights than most would think, that those opposed to Sarah's law tried to skew the results, or that the Sun thought that they couldn't have a 99% result to all the questions: after all, that would just make people mock the sheep mentality. Most damning of all is that the Sun doesn't provide any figures for those who took part in the poll: for all we know, it could be 99% of 100 "demanding" Sarah's law. For a newspaper that sells 3 million copies a day and which claims a total readership of around 8 million, shouldn't they be boasting of how many thousands support Sarah's law?

Perhaps that might be left to the coming days, for the Sun has now started a petition calling for the full implementation of a law based on Megan's law:

We the undersigned want 'Sarah's law' - a law that would reveal perverts' whereabouts.

This petition, signed below, is For Sarah and For All Our Children.

You can add your name to our list by filling in the boxes below.*

As there is no way to even register your opposition this time, I signed it with my name as "I oppose Sarah's law" and address as "for the same reason the NSPCC does: there is no evidence that Sarah's law would make children safer." You might want to do something similar, even if it's a worthless gesture. The previous survey is also still open.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007 

Won't someone please think of the paedophiles?

More photoshopped stereotypes.

There are few more emotive and controversial issues than the rights and wrongs of dealing with both paedophiles and child abuse. When it was announced last year, shortly after John Reid had ascended to the home secretaryship, that he was to send a minister to America to investigate how "Megan's Law" had been implemented, most assumed that it would quickly be forgotten once the hysteria over the case of Craig Sweeney had died down. It was therefore something of a surprise when a sympathetic, previously obscure Labour MP David Norris emerged at the weekend, leaking to the News of the Screws that a trial of a British version was to be implemented in his constituency and a couple of others.

As it turns out, it seems that either Norris got ahead of himself, wrongly briefed by the Home Office, or that the instant criticism even of the trial has meant that it has been somewhat watered down even further. The Home Office is claiming that no decision has yet been reached. The trials themselves therefore may involve single mothers being able to request information from the police on whether prospective partners are on the sex offenders register. The reasoning behind this is that predatory paedophiles are increasingly targeting vulnerable single mothers since they provide relatively easy, trusting access to children.

Even this relatively slight measure has a number of problems with it. It seems unlikely that a single mother, on finding that a man she's been associating with has a conviction for child abuse, is going to keep the information to herself. In fact, she's bound to inform anyone and everyone, including the local media that a sick pervert has been trying to get to her kids through her, even if he in fact wasn't. While this may well be an acceptable outcome in some way, unless the man is then able to be prosecuted for doing so, especially when he can quite reasonably claim that his motives were in fact pure, then the problem is simply magnified, with him either forced into moving away, or becoming an outcast who as a result is even more likely to attack a child on their own, making children even less safe. Unless we are then prepared to lock such potentially dangerous men away, possibly for the rest of their lives, then such a scheme seems to provide little actual comfort, except giving a single mother a false sense of security when her new love turns out to not have a past. It's also encouraging suspicion where there might not have been any in the first place.

The watered down version of Megan's Law which the Home Office denies has been approved yet is little better. Instead of giving the names of offenders in the area and exactly where they live, parents would instead be able to request the number of sex offenders that are living in the local area. It seems unclear just what parents are then meant to do with this information, other than potentially shit themselves and never let their children out of their sight again. It almost seems designed to increase fear of strangers, and of men especially. In the internet age, armed with the number of paedophiles in the area, research is bound to be easy enough to carry out in order to identify exactly who the faces behind the numbers are, therefore negating the whole premise behind restricting the full information in the first place.

Indeed, it makes you wonder if such a scheme does eventually go ahead whether it's a precursor to a full-version of Sarah's law being introduced shortly afterward, with the government forced into going further as a result of the concerned citizens' legitimate and understandable efforts to identify the perverts in their midst. Cynical, maybe, but the Sun, edited by Rebekah Wade, who started the original hysteria back in 2000, is already campaigning for the real deal, "canvassing" their readers, asking them to reply to an insultingly leading questionnaire:

1. If a convicted paedophile was living next door to you, should you have the right to know?

2. If a convicted paedophile was living near your child's school, should you have a right to know?

Durr, let me think. Headteachers are already being informed about paedophiles living near schools, as the Guardian article makes clear. Most convicted sex offenders recently released from prison are dealt with by MAPPA, with the various agencies within it deciding on a case by case basis whether locals need to be informed. It's in fact their hard-work which goes unnoticed in all of this.

3. Are the human rights of a convicted paedophile more important than those of potential victim?

Unsurprisingly, there isn't a box to tick where the human rights of a convicted paedophile not to be kicked to death by rampaging vigilantes or to be allowed to get on with their lives when they are complying with all the conditions of their release and aren't considered a danger to the public are balanced against the human rights of the potential victim. Or even, God forbid, where the human rights of a convicted but reformed paedophile (the Sun denies there is such a thing, even though there have been successful isolated schemes, Circles of Support and Accountability, where none of paedophiles on the course have re-offended as a result) are just as important as every other citizen's.

4. Should police resources be directed at protecting children rather than convicted paedophiles?

This is a daft question. Resources have to be spread between protecting children, and the groups that monitor sex offenders in the community, not either one or the other.

5. Would you feel your family was safer if Sarah's Law was introduced in Britain now?

Another stupid question, as we don't know what the effects of Sarah's law would be. If the results mirror those after the introduction of Megan Law's in the US, then we should expect vigilante attacks to go up and the number of convicted paedophiles currently complying with registration regulations to drop. The figure in the UK at the moment is that 97% of those released do so. Only 80% now do in the States.

Maybe if such evidence was given to Sun readers', they might come to a different conclusion to the one that the newspaper wants them to. As it is, they instead only provide the views of the sympathetic Labour MP, and one of the workers at the charity started by Sara Payne, both of whom support Sarah's law. The information about how Megan's law "works" also doesn't feature any criticisms of the scheme. Yesterday the Sun only bothered to report how Kidscape, a children's charity, supports at least the idea of single mothers being given information, without reporting how the head of Barnardo's and former head of the prison service, Martin Narey, made clear how he thinks it'll in fact make the current threat more insidious through offenders going underground. The NSPCC has also investigated whether Megan's law makes children safer, and found no evidence to suggest it does.

Instead, the Sun's readers' will instead have to make do with the views of Rebekah Wade:

IT’S good — but it’s only a start.

On closer examination the experimental new Sarah’s Law, while welcome, falls short of its successful American counterpart.

Only those directly at risk, such as single mums, will be entitled to ask if someone they suspect as a paedophile is already on police records.

The wider community, whatever their suspicions, must remain in the dark.

Considering the ferocious and preposterous opposition from the civil liberties brigade, this limited right to know is an important step forward.

I didn't realise that the NSPCC, Barnardo's and indeed, even this government, were members of the civil liberties brigade. Welcome brothers!

But it can only be a first step. More must follow if we are to provide our children with the protection they need.

The Sun hopes ministers will look hard at the results of the Reader Referendum we are conducting today.

Our readers have always wanted the whole neighbourhood to have the right to know if a child sex monster is living near them or a school.

They know these ruthless perverts rarely respond to counselling or treatment and remain paedophiles all their lives.

Err, so if you already know the results of this "referendum", why are you even bothering carrying it out?

As it stands, the proposed new law is unlikely to prevent avoidable attacks on young victims.

When it comes to choosing between the human rights of a child and those of a sexual predator, there IS no choice.

Let us decide once and for all whose rights matter the most.

This is a false dichotomy. Rights are universal; they apply to everyone, even "sexual predators", or at least those that aren't breaching the conditions of their original release. We can't pick and choose who has human rights and who doesn't, especially as I wasn't even sure that the Sun believed in human rights. It certainly doesn't in the Human Rights Act itself, which provides the very measures that allows for the relatives of victims of sexual predators to get inquests into the death of their loved ones.

It would be a shame then if the results of the Sun's referendum were skewed by those concerned of the dangers of introducing Sarah's law in full. The poll is here, although I obviously cannot condone the actions of anyone attempting to do such a thing.

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Monday, March 12, 2007 

Scum-watch: We need Sarah's law. And the comments prove it.

Is Rebekah Wade reflecting the concerns of society or is she exploiting the population's most base fears? That's the conundrum I always mull over when reading the latest hysterical report on why we need Sarah's law and now. Is the campaign motivated out of sales, genuine belief there's a problem that's being underreported or out of some own demon from Wade's past which she's getting her galley slaves to constantly write about?

This isn't to trivialise child abuse. It is a serious problem, but as one of the more sensible commenters on the report mentions, it's far more likely to occur within a close circle of family and friends than from a random stranger. The next question that has to be asked is whether "exposing" these "monsters" is actually scaring the public or making them more secure. It's not one that I have an answer to. I do however remember the hysteria created by Wade's previous campaign at the News of the Screws, which inspired the kind of mob justice, especially in protests in Portsmouth, that you more associate with fiction than with modern Britain.

Today's report focuses on court rooms across the country and the sex offenders passing through, with the courts only being monitored for three eight-hour days. As you might expect, there's the usual variety of people who've downloaded child pornography, as well as those who are actual abusers. There's also a few anomalies which I don't think have any right to be presented in such a sensationalist manner. This, however, is the Sun. It's the only way it knows.

Here's the introduction, complete with scarily-staged (correction: it seems to have been photoshopped now I look at it) photograph of the stereotypical image of a paedophile: someone most likely with a body odour problem, wearing dark clothes, hat, glasses and unshaven, stalking a playground while a child swings, oblivious to the danger that's right in front of her. The reality, as painted by the actual cases in the courts, is often very different.

PAEDOPHILES and child sex offenders are the scourge of modern life. There have always been perverts preying on children, but the arrival of the internet has opened up new channels of depravity for sick individuals.

As well as those who physically assault youngsters from a position of trust and those who lure kids into danger, many download obscene images of children – ensuring all too real abuse.

Every day our justice system is battling to catch and punish these vermin. Often the sheer number of cases is such that only the most shocking make the Press.

We watched courts around the country for three eight-hour days last week to get a 24-hour snapshot of life in Paedo UK.

Below we outline just some of the cases.

Of the 12 cases the Sun presents, 5 of them involved actual abuse. Of those, only 3 involved assaults/abuse/rape with children which falls strictly under the definition of paedophilia, and one was a case 20 years old. The other two involved teenagers likely to be pubescent. This of course doesn't downgrade the crime, and this might seem pedantic, but labeling anyone who has sex with girls under the age of consent as a paedophile is lazy at best and at worst is ignoring the facts of the case.

For instance, one of the cases highlighted is of a 20-year-old soldier who invited a 14-year-old girl back to his house and had sex with her. The sex was presumably consensual, as it doesn't state otherwise. The sentence handed down was a 12-month jail term suspended for two years, a course for sex offenders for two years, and placement on the sex offenders register. The Sun doesn't go into the case in full, and the judge is quoted as saying that he took advantage of the girl. It's worth wondering why the case has come to court, as similar cases are often not pursued, which might mean there are other factors involved, but such a sentence for what was presumably consensual sexual activity, especially as the judge describes the man as highly immature seems harsh, and the Sun's exposure of the case is more so. He broke the law, but in the apparent circumstances does his exposure serve any purpose? Does the sentence serve any purpose when the judge concludes that the soldier is not a predatory paedophile?

I can't pretend to answer the questions raised. Most of the sentences passed however seem to me about right - neither too harsh or too lenient. The cases from Belfast and Newcastle are the most troubling; in those I think the sentences are definitely on the lenient side, especially as both had previous. This suggests though that the judges are on the whole getting it right.

The Sun's leader is particularly venomous:

IT’S like turning over a stone and watching the creepy-crawlies rush out from underneath.

And there are two especially frightening things about the paedophiles we uncover today.

First, the sheer number of them. These are just the vermin who happened to appear in court during our 24-hour watch.

12 cases over 3 days all across the country doesn't seem particularly excessive in my mind, but I might be being too relaxed or casual about the whole thing. After all, I'm a young adult male. I'm about the least likely person to be the victim of a sex crime. Is that affecting my judgment or not?

Second, how many of them have normal, responsible jobs — bus driver, soldier, foster carer and even a policeman. They cloak their evil with respectability.

These people are our enemy and they are a silent, secret enemy.

The Sun can’t be in every court in the land, every day, to haul these wretches into the limelight.

Are they our enemy or are they damaged individuals themselves? Are they predatory or have they themselves been preyed upon at some time? Instead of calling them the enemy, shouldn't we be recognising that they are just like everyone else going through the court system? Isn't calling them the enemy giving them a war-like status when they are certainly not soldiers and who can't be merely brushed aside using weapons? Isn't demonising them rather than trying to understand their urges and developing strategies from that part of the very problem?

We need a law that forces the authorities to turn a spotlight on the perverts in our midst.

A law that means the name and address of every paedophile is known to local parents whose children might become their victims.

We need Sarah’s Law. And soon.

Sarah's Law may have helped in only 3 of the cases, and that is by no means certain. The other problems involved with a naming law are the vigilante aspect, and the fact that it may further encourage potential predators to go even more underground, or simply go AWOL. While American states name sex offenders on websites, there is by no means the same moral panic there as there is here, thanks partly to the lack of populist mass-sale country-wide tabloids, and evidence suggests that those convicted who subsequently disappear instead of "signing on" the register are far more numerous to those who go missing here.

If we perhaps needed any more evidence of the potential for vigilantism, we can look at the comments on the Sun article. Of course, such a subject is always go to raise passions, and what people say online is often bravado in situations like this, but it's still an indicator for the type of feeling aroused by articles such as these.

I know what sort of punishment I and many others would dish out to these *******. It would last much longer than 12 months and they certainly could not be around a child again. But we live in a pathetic country whose pathetic laws do nothing but protect the guilty.

i would cut all the bits from them .that way they can never hurt another child fof the rest of there life ,even thats to good for them .bring back the death buy hanging or let them loose wiyh 50 mums debby

How can we expect anything to be done when the so called back bone of this country cannot even given these sick and twisted individuals a sentence worth while! These inhumanly animals should never be allowed to walk the streets! I think hanging should be brought back they do not deserve to breathe the same air as us!!!

Crime now, but let the special interest groups have their way, and child molesters will be a protected class of persons. What was considered anti-social in years past is now front and center as "normal" behaviour. The Sun does well to highlight the plight of the victimized. This abhorant perversion shuold always spark a heartfelt moral outrage among civilized people. Let us not forget that certain sub-cultures practice underage sex on a regular basis. They should not be exempted from child protection laws simply because they fled a barbaric country. If they want to live in a civilized country, then they should adjust to civilized laws, not bring their tribal mumbo jumbo with them.

None of the men featured appear to be from an ethnic minority, and it's perhaps worth mentioning here the efforts of the BNP in trying to suggest that Asian men in Keighley were responsible for the grooming of teenage girls, when the truth was much more complicated.

JUDGES get your act together and punish these amoeba's properly, never mind 6months and 2 yrs sentences, get them down for life! They're ruined countless kids lives!!! And a good dose of bromide in their tea!

Not the greatest justification here for a Sarah's law based on Megan's law:

Here in the usa we have a web site that you can go on, You can put in your address and it will fetch up a page with a local map showing all the addresses of pedo's in you area,You then click on each address and it will show you a picture of the scumbucket along with what his of her actual crime was. Now you would think with this that our kids would be safe but no..These things still get to grab our kids just the same and if they don't register their new addresses as they move around(what they are not supposed to do without police permission by the way)the police have no way of tracking them.Maybe we should start thinking about chipping these things(I cant call them people)or maybe putting those ankle braclets on them for the rest of their life,Better still put them in jail for longer periods,I don't three months, six months, or one year is good enough This is our children were taking about here and has anyone stopped to think of the life sentence these poor little things get to serve for 10min of a pedos fun.

The Sun's website, supposedly dedicated to seeking "justice for you", may well have the opposite effect. Its modus operandi, which seems to be to lock up ever more people for even longer, is the exact thing that is helping to drive re-offending rates up. Its demanding of "Sarah's law" could make children even more vulnerable. It distorts Lord Phillips' nuanced speech into suggesting that he wants killers released early. Oh, and in wonderfully good taste, it celebrates a woman who may well have hounded her husband's "killer" (he caused a pile-up through driving on the wrong side of the road) to death. It appears that Sun justice is in fact no justice.

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