I'm finding the coverage of the Michael Le Vell case really biased against the alleged victim

(158 Posts)
ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 05-Sep-13 17:11:25

I'm really shocked. This poor girl, who can't currently be more than 13, is not only having her case all over the media, but the headlines seem terribly pro LeVell before the verdict is even being considered.

Despite the paediatric expert saying that there was no evidence EITHER WAY two years after the last alleged attack ( i.e it neither confirmed NOR negated abuse), the Sun and other gutter press are headlining that she never had sex at all.

Sexual abuse cases are notoriously hard to prove due to the quintessentially secretive nature of the act. This coverage will surely discourage victims to come forward?

IMO, people are mistaking LeVell for the affable character he plays and demonising the victim, who is still only a 13 year old girl.

Methe Thu 05-Sep-13 17:24:13

The alleged victim. He hasn't been found guilty yet.

I don't read the papers but I have been shocked at the amount of detail the tv coverage is going in to. When a case is regarding a child it ought to be done in secret untill the end. It must be awful for her.

Nancy66 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:25:15

The victim is now 17 I think.

The headlines have been pretty tasteless. However the headlines from earlier in the week definitely cast him in an unfavourable light.

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 17:26:55

It may not be deliberate bias, though it probably is. I think the media is absolutely rubbish at reporting court cases, because it involves having to sit and actually listen to then summarise information. Not a skill the tabloids particularly prize.

ZeroTolerance Thu 05-Sep-13 17:34:21

Totally disagree with you. The press is actually very careful in cases like this. They report the facts from the court. If it's a day of prosecution evidence, he will come off worse. There were some very unpleasant headlines earlier in the week. When it's the turn of the defence, her testimony will be questioned and challenged. Obviously.

It's a rape case. She has anonymity for life. The media will tread particularly carefully in this case because the girl could VERY easily be identified. If he is found guilty, I doubt the press will go to town on him actually. Nothing to do with his fame - because of the risk of revealing her identity.

EldritchCleavage Thu 05-Sep-13 17:38:26

I'm sure they will be careful not to identify her. Does not mean they will be any good at achieving an accurate precis of the evidence.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 19:06:24

I agree with you.

I went into the newsagents after work and was really taken aback by the Star headline which said (I just googled to check)

"Doctor says she has NEVER had full sex"

And I was surprised as I thought the doctor had said it was inconclusive with no firm evidence either way. I just checked on the BBC and that's what it says. So why the actual fuck are the Star printing on their front page in massive headlines that the girl is a liar.

Coverage in this type of case is usually anti-victim, unless the alleged perpetrator fits the profile of "evil sex fiend" in some way.

Makes me feel quite ill.

Pixel Thu 05-Sep-13 20:27:32

I've only glanced at a couple of articles about this and am slightly confused. They said that he allegedly raped this girl but didn't mention how he would have had access. Was he a family friend/neighbour/relative?

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:36:52

They probably can't say as it might/would identify her.

Coconutty Costa Rica Thu 05-Sep-13 20:39:07

I think both identities should be protected until the case is proven.

Effjay Thu 05-Sep-13 20:46:58

I agree with OP. My reaction to the story was how awful it must feel for the alleged victim and I thought of the recent case of the violinist who was abused at Chetham's who had the bravery to take her abuser to court, but her ordeal lead to her suicide.
Why is it that the victim has to be subjected to trial (by some sections) of the media during the process? I hope she's being sheltered from all of this.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:48:47

Problem with that is that it makes it harder to secure prosecutions are there is no chance for further victims to come forward.

I would not be at all keen on prosecution witness names being released on not guilty verdict either.

MikeLitoris Argentina Thu 05-Sep-13 20:50:35

But headlines from earlier this week made him look very guilty. Is that ok?

Imo there is no need for there to be any headlines about this case until there is a verdict.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 20:59:40

I only saw headlines saying things like "Girl claims wotsit did XYZ", nothing saying he was outright guilty.

Happy to see the other side though if you have any links, would cheer me up if it was more balanced.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:01:50

I agree though that there is absolutely no need whatsoever for details of child rape and sexual assault (whether it ends up proven or not) to be printed in the papers, and often in such a salacious way.

That seems to be the way it goes with sex crimes - against women and girls anyway. I can't recall seeing details of a sex case against a man or boy reported in that "style" but then maybe I have missed them.

Barbarashop Thu 05-Sep-13 21:02:49

I think reading they are not actually protecting her identity as carefully as they could.

Barbarashop Thu 05-Sep-13 21:03:19

Sorry - don't know where the word reading came from.

Animation Thu 05-Sep-13 21:03:39

I also agree with you op. Those headlines struck me as very distasteful with the doctor saying the girl hadn't had sex. It didn't seem right at all reporting this and I REALLY felt for her.

CajaDeLaMemoria Thu 05-Sep-13 21:06:21

Her identity has been revealed three times, so it isn't as 'protected' as usual. They still aren't going to say who she is, but a lot of people know.

It's probably worth adding a note that everyone who has revealed her identity has been charged, so it'd be a very bad idea to speculate on who she is on this thread.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:08:03

But did the doctor even day that?

I looked at the star article when I got home and it said the same as the BBC ie neutral, can't say one way or the other.

And yet their headline is basically doctor (professional) says girl is a LIAR which people will glance at in the shop and go away with the message that the girl was definitely never raped and she is a liar.

How are they allowed to be so utterly revoltingly irresponsible?

Why are they setting out to perpetuate the myth that females - even children - routinely lie about being sexually assaulted and raped? Why do they do that? It happens all the time and I don't understand why. Is it because it's what people want to hear - like the way the DM says stuff about immigrants or benefit scroungers or whatever? I really don't understand it.

NiceTabard Thu 05-Sep-13 21:10:51

The last thing people on a thread showing sympathy for the way a child prosecution witness to serious sexual offences is being treated are likely to do, is start speculating as to who the victim might be.

What on earth?

Animation Thu 05-Sep-13 21:11:48

"And yet their headline is basically doctor (professional) says girl is a LIAR which people will glance at in the shop and go away with the message that the girl was definitely never raped and she is a liar.

How are they allowed to be so utterly revoltingly irresponsible?"

Yes, absolutely!!!

ChocsAwayInMyGob Thu 05-Sep-13 21:57:15

I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking this.

I thought she must be 13 as the last time she was allegedly raped was the age of ten and the last attack was over two years ago.

I'm amazed this doesn't have a news blackout until the verdict. It is such a delicate and emotive case and so unfair on the alleged young victim. I bet it has undone years of good work by Rape Crisis Centres and charities.

iclaudius Thu 05-Sep-13 21:58:47

totally agree op
saw the daily star today and was concerned that the wording of the headline looked biased in le vells favour

scaevola Thu 05-Sep-13 22:03:11

There were threads on MN earlier this week about the (upsettingly graphic to some) headlines based on the girl's testimony. When the prosecution case was being put forward, he looked bad in those headlines; as trial moves to defence, it will show his side.

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