Contempt of Court — US v UK

Mona Nelson has now been convicted of the 2010 murder of Jonathan Foster. If you heard earlier reports, you might have asked why was a trial necessary?

Mona Nelson

The trial of Mona Nelson was reported here earlier this week. In spite of claims of a media blackout by people looking at the case from a racial angle, it has been fairly widely reported. Although this was both a terrible and unusual case, it did not raise the social issues - real or contrived - that were raised by the recent Trayon Martin/George Zimmerman case.

In one way though, the coverage of this extremely serious case was sadly typical of such coverage in the United States. If anything, the commentary by law enforcement on the Cassidy Goodson case was even more outrageous. In the UK, no such commentary would have been made by the police on any criminal case prior to conviction, and because of her age, she would almost certainly not even have been named. After a plea bargain, Goodson was sentenced to 18 months.

Here in the UK, veteran entertainer Rolf Harris has now been charged with 9 historical sexual offences against 2 underage girls. He has also been charged with making four indecent images of children last year. Mainstream media coverage has so far been very low key. Alas, non-mainstream coverage has been anything but. One blogger, who shall remain nameless, has convicted him already, claiming he is “known in underworld circles to own images of underage, sexually abused children”. What underworld circles might they be? He continues “Police, however, have not confirmed this”. In other words, neither the police nor anyone in authority has made any such comment or suggestion whatsoever. He might just as well have written “Police have not confirmed whether or not Rolf Harris supplied the rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald”.

Incredibly, at the bottom of the comment section, this blogger writes: “Don’t use racist, homophobic or xenophobic language. Don’t attack the integrity of the owner or contributors...”

In addition to linking to the ludicrous justice for Hollie Greig website, our fearless exposer of child abuse and other social evils, points the finger at the high and mighty, as well as commenting on some well-documented, proven cases.

It has been confirmed that this blog and similar websites are being monitored by the Attorney General, but in view of the large number of lurid allegations it makes against prominent persons, it is unlikely any action will be taken against the owner. Others have not been so lucky, in particular the newspapers that went too far in the Joanna Yeates murder case by pointing the finger at her landlord. The real murderer was a weirdo named Vincent Tabak.

While it is understandable that the UK authorities should ignore cyberspace cranks, it is less understandable why the American authorities continue to permit even law enforcement officers to make outrageous pronouncements about the guilt of suspects, especially in cases where the charges are heinous and the evidence apparently compelling. If the police are allowed to determine a suspect’s guilt, this begs the question, why bother with a trial?

[The above op-ed was first published August 31, 2013. The original wasn’t archived. The word historic has been altered to the grammatically correct historical. I know she looks like a dude, but I can assure you the mugshot above is of Mona Nelson.]

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