From today’s Daily Express:
Devine, 58, wrote: “Along with my parliamentary colleagues my public and private reputation was trashed on the internet. At the start of my trial the judge told the jury not to trawl the internet looking for stories about myself – does anyone believe that every juror followed that instruction? I know several senior MPs that are very concerned about the ability of an individual to receive a fair trial in the internet age.”
The former Labour MP for Livingston, who was sent to Belmarsh Prison in south-east London before being transferred to the lower security Standford Hill Prison in Sheerness, Kent, also said he knew “at least 10 prisoners” who thought “tabloid reporting” had jeopardised their chances of a fair trial.
The reputation of parliamentarians was not ‘trashed’ on the internet.
It was trashed by parliamentarians’ greed. It was trashed by parliamentarians’ contempt for voters. It was trashed by parliamentarians’ dishonesty. It was trashed by parliamentarians’ arrogance.
What’s more, they still believe that they are above the basic accounting procedures that apply to everybody else. Not even a complacent ‘lessons learned’ here.
Their behaviour disgusts us.
The internet is not the cause of this disgust: it is an expression of our disgust in an age when there is a growing deficit in the democratic means to hold parliamentarians to proper account.
The internet as we know it has been in existence since the early 80s and came of age from about the mid 1990s. How strange that several senior MPs are, apparently, ‘very concerned about the ability of an individual to receive a fair trial in the internet age’ only after Jim Devine was convicted.
And how noble of Devine to raise the concerns of prisoners who believe that ‘tabloid reporting’ has jeopardised their trials. As an MP whom we now know to be so concerned about miscarriages of justice, I’m sure he will have raised the matter in the Commons.
No? Too busy with all those nannying, anti-libertarian measures to make virtual prisoners of we so-called free men perhaps?
There again, Mr Devine is known for making things up after he’s been caught.