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What about 'innocent until proven guilty'?

August 31, 2016 4:24 A.M.

A NewsKamloops editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

WAS A TIME when an accused was considered innocent until proven guilty. An organization called Creep Hunters, at least a couple of local media, and quite a few media watchers forgot all about that this week.

They convicted a man without a trial. The vigilante group from Kelowna claims to have entrapped a Kamloops man trying to prey on someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Monday, two local media published stories about it that included the man’s name. One published his photo. 

And the comments started coming, assuming the man’s guilt and offering up judgment.

Other media outlets published stories about the allegations but they correctly blurred the photos to hide the man’s identity and did not publish his name.

But the damage is done.

Maybe the man did what the Kelowna posse claims he did, or not. It’s not for a self-appointed vigilante group, nor the media, nor the public to decide.

If police investigate, if charges are filed, if the matter gets to court, if a guilty verdict is delivered, then we can have our say and rightly express our outrage (and we should all be outraged about sexual predators).

But In the meantime, let’s be fair, let’s resist the urge to go rushing to judgment and so readily ruining somebody’s life.

Got an opinion? Leave a comment here or write to letters@newskamloops.com.

Beverley says:
August 31, 2016 07:28pm

It seems to me that current behaviours have been caused by a loss of faith, the average general public member has completely lost faith with our once pride and joy, the RCMP, sad but true, in the estimation of the public, the RCMP cannot be trusted to faithfully investigate a matter such as this, particularly as their first response is denial and then disapproval. I find it so very sad.

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Alan Bass says:
August 31, 2016 04:44pm

Couldn't agree more. The way this was handled by some local media organizations was appalling.

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Liz says:
August 31, 2016 09:15am

Generally speaking, in today's society the court of public opinion is more effective than the law courts of the Country. Entrapment of sexual preverts can be more effective than the laws of the land, with the creep hunters out there, these perverts will perhaps think twice before moving on their prey. It is apparent the law has little or no effect to stop or prevent these crimes on young girls and boys. If you are going to attact people sexually then you deserve to be caught one way or the other. Based on the actions of the perverts who have been reports upon in the media, they are not innocent bystanders and deserve to be dealt with in the public domain, surely you are in favour of exposing them for what they are.

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Tracey Lodge says:
August 31, 2016 06:45am

But Mel, that is what we do nowadays. Even journalists do it. Look at Ryan Lochte. It seems that his story was no so far fetched and he is ruined. We want a quick news bite. A fast story, so we can go on to the newest and the best next one. It is really sad that our society has come to this.

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