Friday, May 7, 2021

Handling anonymity

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Matthew Steeples suggests that it is time for the courts and press to consider anonymity in reporting sensitive cases more carefully

 

In London last week, many titles published reports about the inquest into the suicide of Eleanor de Freitas. This 23-year old killed herself after facing a £200,000 private prosecution brought against by her by a 35-year old Chelsea financier named Alexander Economou and a trial for perverting the course of justice after she allegedly lied about being allegedly raped by him in 2013. Simply in having their story so widely shared, both de Feitas and Economou have both had their names dragged through the dirt but on a more worrying level, this weekend, a Bahraini prince named His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (لامير ناصر بن حمد آل خليفة) has been subjected to a torrent of negative press coverage after human rights activists demanded his arrest despite allegations against him dismissed by the police “on the basis of the insufficiency of the evidence against him”.

 

Handling anonymity - His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa لامير ناصر بن حمد آل خليفة)
His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa (لامير ناصر بن حمد آل خليفة)

Handling anonymity - Alexander Economou and Eleanor de Freitas
Alexander Economou and Eleanor de Freitas

 

The cases of 27-year old, Sandhurst educated Prince Nasser – whose arrival in Britain was highlighted after he shared a video of himself running in Hyde Park on his Instagram page – and Economou share common ground in that they both relate to unproven and untested allegations. Neither has been charged with any crime and, on that basis, both men remain innocent in the eyes of the law.

 

Here are two examples of why anonymity for the accused in certain instances is as important as it is for victims. Both Prince Nasser and Alexander Economou’s names will now forever be associated with these stories and be they are innocent or guilty, mud tends to stick. It is time to review the way in which the naming of individuals involved in such cases is handled.

 

 

 

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    16 COMMENTS

    1. I don’t think I would worry too much about The ‘Prince’ from that little backward backwater, Bahrain.
      His family are coarse and brutal so doubtless no smoke without fire. His family run the country like a mafia gang supported by the brutal Saudi’s.
      I knew Alexander Economou when he was a schoolfrend of my son. The crime he was accused of was of such gravity that he could have ended up in prison for at least twelve years. He is a decent young man. Were the position transposed I would have done all within my power to ensure that this young lady never ruined anyone’s else’s life as she nearly completely ruined his. His only recourse was save his reputation.
      Eleanor’s parents knew she was unstable and should have done much more to have her properly treated.
      This sort of case is impossible to keep out of the pubic domain and quite rightly too.
      We live in a democracy and though tragedies like this occur it is insufficient excuse for amending the law.
      It is the price of living in an open and purportedly transparent society.

    2. The de Freitas / Eronomou case

      A Barrister told me about a case involving a business dispute

      I asked him how he dealt with all this information sloshing around in his head……..’ We wash our minds out ‘ he said

      Would I could wash my mind of the sadness that this post has put into my mind

      Reading between the lines there is so much ghastliness and sadness……….I am sorry for all involved and I am so sorry that I read the Steeple Times today

    3. I feel sorry for the Prince. The other two sound like spoilt moaners. I’m sorry she’s dead but both of them look like typical Chelsea brats. The Prince on the other hand is being targeted by stupid lefties. Shame on the press for reporting their ****.

    4. Agree with you entirely,Disgusted of Belgravia. As for you,Peter Wayde, Bahrain may be a little backwater,but it is a beautiful one at that and certainly not backward. Have you ever been here? If you had you would know that the Royal Family, far from being the coarse brutes that you portray are actually loved and deeply respected by the vast majority,Bahraini’s and ex pats alike. You really shouldn’t believe everything you read in the press.

      • I have been there and have friends there. You doubtless find the company of a family who rely upon on the support of the even more barbaric Saudi’s to survive, congenial….I would not. And why not explain why the Saudi Army had to be invited to brutally put down the insurrection. You sound as daft as a brush….with apologies to the brush famiy.

    5. Well Mr Wayde, as Bahrain is obviously such a cess pit of violence and brutality I’m surprised your friends choose to stay here. Anyway,I do hope your insulting me has made you feel better.

    6. Your condescending attitude is just as I expected from you. You are a nasty,grumpy old so and so who thinks he knows it all. Unlike you Mr Wayde,I have looked at the political situation here in Bahrain from both sides, I tend to do that before I form an opinion and insult people who dare to have a different perspective to mine. Do not dare to suggest that I’m some air headed bimbo who wouldn’t trouble herself with issues such as politics and human rights. I know what went on here and I know what continues to go on here. I also know that the Royal Family and Government have admitted that things were dealt with very,very badly. When was the last time the British government held up their hands and admitted they messed up? When was the last time the British Government invited a panel of neutral observers from other countries to tell them how to improve on their human rights? Have you even bothered to look at the plight of the Police and National Defence here who day after day are risking their lives dodging molotov cocktails and burning tyres hurled at them by idiots who are influenced by Iran? The number of innocent policemen who have been murdered by these thugs is shocking but hey,nobody wants to hear about that because it doesn’t fit the image of the poor,down at heel flag wavers that people like you like to champion. I suggest YOU educate yourself TO BOTH SIDES of this before you start lashing out.

    7. Also Mr Wayde,may I draw your attention to an article titled Speeches’Provoked Rise In Violence On Streets’ which can be found in The Gulf Daily News dated today,26th March. This is the reality of what’s going on here. This is what the Government and the majority of people on this Island are up against. This is the truth of what so called ‘peaceful protests’ really are. Please note the full involvement of diplomats from the American,British,Italian,German and French Embassies as well as Human Rights activists,relatives of the accused and representatives of the opposition party Al Wefaq. This is how the Bahraini justice system works. Educate yourself,Mr Wayde. Remove the blinkers and open your mind a little. I’m proud of Bahrain and what the rulers are trying to acheive under very difficult circumstances. This is my final word on this subject.

    8. What a rant, Mrs Mohammad!….Thank goodness it’s your final word. You’re such a boring old air headed bimbo.
      A tout…

    9. Mrs Mohammad I thought that “was your final word on the subject”
      You are a funny old thing…but I like the tut-tut…

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