THE BLOG

We Can't Let The Hypocrites Get Away With It

14/05/2013 12:55 BST | Updated 11/07/2013 10:12 BST
AP

There is nothing worse than being accused of something you didn't do. Well, there is. Being convicted of something you didn't do.

But if members of the police force, left-leaning commentators and senior lawyers are to be believed, the worst thing right now is to be identified as a potential wrong-doer.

If a vengeful lover wants to say they've been raped, for example, it would be unfair, they say, to reveal the accused's identity because so serious are the allegations he or she may never live it down even if they are innocent.

In these disturbingly Orwellian post-Leveson times, the State is on the cusp of introducing such Draconian legislation that we may never hear of cases like Stuart Hall's or Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans or even Jimmy Tarbuck, because the accused deserves 'protection' from publicity.

What rot. And what rank hypocrisy. The legal establishment, lest we forget, has spent decades recalibrating the system to allow victims to manipulate human rights legislation and say anything they like without fear of being identified. And now they want to make sure the accused get to use the invisibility cloak too.

Their no doubt well-meaning legal changes have created a situation whereby an individual can, for instance, invent a totally false story about their employer and take advantage of a no-win, no-fee lawyer who is basically just 'taking a punt'.

And sometimes you'll never find out who these people are. Perhaps it would be better if their identities are also revealed should a court find them to have invented their story - but don't hold your breath waiting for that law change to happen.

Yes, the system can work - vile predators like Hall get their comeuppance eventually. But it means too that innocent people lose their jobs and good reputations because they have to fight figments of imagination in the glare of the public eye.

I have no idea whether Mr Deputy Speaker of Mr Tarbuck are guilty or innocent but my only concern here is that we should know what they're accused of, that secrecy can only inflict further damage on our legal system. Scrutiny of the rich and powerful - and middle-class non-entities like me - is a vital part of democracy. Blindfolding the public is something more reminiscent of a fascist state.

So when lawyers use the Leveson inquiry findings to invoke invasion of privacy concerns and conclude that suspects' identities shouldn't be revealed until they get to court, remember this:

These are the same lawyers who are non-plussed when their clients make stories up so they can build a case.

These are lawyers backed by politicians who want to criminalise us when we pay the cleaner in black market cash, whilst stopping us finding out how many taxpayer-funded chocolate bars they claim for.

These are lawyers defended by high-profile media figures who love exposing sexual shenaningans yet think nothing of cheating on their own spouses.

These are lawyers colluding with police officers who know their forces are riddled with corruption but do nothing about it.

Hypocrisy is one of this nation's most corrosive influences. We all exhibit it in some way - hopefully with pretty trivial consequences. Closet racist Ukip-ers who like nothing better than dining in a newly-opened curry house on Friday night, Ocado mums who bemoan the closure of the local deli, eye-gouging rugby players aghast at footballers' antics.

Yet when those who are meant to be our moral and legal guardians bask in that hypocrisy to get their own way, we should be very worried indeed.