Like pretty well everyone in Britain who has any interest in news, I’d wager, I’ve read the New York Times story about the recent alleged bomb plots that was theoretically barred from British readers (for reasons of the contempt of court law).
Should you not be in that category, you’ll know all you need to know if I say that it looked remarkably like the opening speech for the prosecution is likely to sound. (Gosh, I wonder how the Times got that?)
But there is one quote from it that I’ll share, possibly the most important, and it doesn’t carry any risk of contempt proceedings:
“In retrospect,” said Michael A. Sheehan, the former deputy commissioner of counterterrorism in the New York Police Department, “there may have been too much hyperventilating going on.”
Remember, that lipstick could be deadly!
Seriously, it has provoked much discussion about the British contempt law, which basically means that once someone has been charged, the evidence against them can not be reported for fear of prejudicing the jury. Undoubtedly in the age of worldwide media, unpoliceable blogs etc, this has its absurdities, but I’d still rather that than the American alternative, where the mere whisper of suspicion is frequently reported as though it were an open and shut case already decided by a jury. (As evidenced by the recent JonBenet Ramsey hysteria.)