This the first – and will be the last – picture of a murder accused’s spouse or family I have printed in more than 5 years of full-time writing, and a decade prior as a hobbyist.
Using an innocent family member of an accused person is an absolute disgrace and those at the Courier-Mail responsible for the publication of the above picture of the wife of Garry Dubois, whose trial on spuriously evidenced charges of murder and rape began yesterday, is a sad indictment of the depths to which the mainstream media will desperately stoop when sub-judice contempt strictures prevent them from carrying images that the not-yet 24 hour old jury of average Australian punters impaneled yesterday are yet to see.
But is the gutter-diving a product of the sales imperative that drives every waking moment of a Murdoch news reporter’s day?
Perhaps it’s a reflection on the poor moral character of they whose whorls on their palms are stained with the deep black smudge of the newsprint from the photo that they played some part large or small in causing to be published on their employer’s paper’s front page (for lets be clear – as much as they are hyped and conned into believing it’s theirs, it ain’t. It’s Rupert’s and his shareholders;yesterday, today and every day of every week)?
Maybe it’s a spotlight on the poor quality of entrant to the once – and I stay still, in parts at least – noble profession of journalism now draws after decades of management-union busting, coupled with a parallel emphasis on individual employer-controlled discretionary performance based pay packages, have driven wages down to what once were the levels enjoyed by the long-forgotten ladies on the switchboard?
Or is it something altogether different? Is it the sub-judice contempt laws themselves – or perhaps better said, the application of these laws – that are the problem?
Do the legal restrictions that prevent publication of relevant material – like for example the identification of the accused, and more so his placement at the scene of the commission of the crime of Deprivation of Liberty described in Count 1 of the Indictment – actually encourage mainstream publications, ever-hungry for increased circulation, to seek out and publish such ethically unsound images as those that adorn the front page of the Courier-Mail on a day when untempered ID evidence is of paramount importance?
These are issues we will return to after the conclusion of the trial, but in the meantime may we merely express our distaste abut the publication of the images, and our concern that the rash decision to publish them to a readership of over 700 000 in a state of just 5 million may be highly prejudicial to the effective conduct of this trial.
I hope I’m wrong, I truly do.
But we shall have to await the outcome of the lawyers advice, and leave decisions in their safe and learned hands.