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.

scaevola Thu 05-Sep-13 22:09:12

According to the BBC he is charged with offences from 2001 onwards, and the first occurred when she was 6. That makes her 18-19 now.

landrover Thu 05-Sep-13 23:03:33

oddly enough, wikipedia have changed his history recently, presumably because of the case.

Pixel Thu 05-Sep-13 23:56:10

I wasn't speculating who the girl could be, it hadn't crossed my mind that going into more detail in the paper might identify her blush. I just thought I'd missed something when I skim-read the story.

TheSecondComing Fri 06-Sep-13 00:03:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

hackmum Fri 06-Sep-13 09:27:18

As far as I can tell, all the newspapers are doing is reporting what is said in court. Obviously they choose the most dramatic statements for their headlines, but they have to be very careful not to report any of these statements as fact, nor to write anything that hasn't been said.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 10:01:18

I agree with TSC. It's pretty obvious, and that makes the media coverage even more reprehensible, I think. It's really surprising that there isn't a media blackout, to be honest.

I'm also disgusted at what the defence claims is her motivation for making the allegations, but I suppose that's part and parcel of the vile practice of verbally destroying the reputation of the alleged victim. Nice sad

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 10:17:53

But hackmum I haven't seen it reported anywhere else that the doctor said that.

lotsofdogshere Fri 06-Sep-13 10:18:33

I worked with victims/survivors and their families for many years. I agree with the comments here about the way this case is being reported. I have been angry for months about the way in which the Mirror/Star in particular have been covering Michael L V's life with such a sympathetic slant. Endless photographs of him either looking depressed, or with whichever woman he is with that week, all with the emphasise that all the Corrie cast support him, no one believes he is capable of the offences alleged against him, etc. It felt like victim bullying to me, for him to continue to be so much in the public eye, and with the sympathy of the papers concerned with him on the innocent till proven guilty premise. I accept that false allegations are sometimes made, but it's not common. It's so difficult for children or adults to give evidence to the police, and then in court about sexual offences. I find it hard to believe we still allow the court rooms to be open to the public in this kind of case.

NiceTabard Fri 06-Sep-13 10:19:32

I don't watch coronation street and don't know much about this man, but it seems from this thread that lots of people know who the victim is.

In which case none of these details should be reported.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 11:02:02

lotsofdogs- I totally agree. If anything is designed to put a victim off from reporting a rape, it's the frightening way an alleged victim has been discredited in the national press before the jury have even retired.

I think rape cases should be a news blackout until the verdict in order to protect the alleged victim.

As an aside, I have no idea who the victim is and I'm not even going to try and guess.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:00

"I'm also disgusted at what the defence claims is her motivation for making the allegations, but I suppose that's part and parcel of the vile practice of verbally destroying the reputation of the alleged victim. Nice sad"

I know!!

It's got to change - it IS disgusting!!

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:30:52

"If anything is designed to put a victim off from reporting it's the frightening way an alleged victim has been discredited in the national press before the jury have even retired."

Yes - and front page headlines at that!!!

The press need to stop this - what they're playing at!

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 14:34:51

How else do you cross-examine though? He says she's lying. She says he's lying. How does a court, in an adversarial system of law, challenge the evidence and arrive at a decision about what happened?

How would it work if the court assumed the victim was truthful and the defendant had to prove a negative-that he didn't commit the offence?

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 14:50:21

Eldritch- How else do you cross examine? Easy answer- IN PRIVATE!

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:50:40

But for the defense to make some nasty assumption about her motive for reporting it - they're not dealing with facts and evidence based material there are they. It's just bullying brow beating court behaviour - annihilating her and getting very personal when this girl who may have been raped from the age of 6 and if so, is probably feeling very exposed and vulnerable.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 14:53:04

But we have a system of open justice, for good reason. And the proceedings have to be reported anyway, I think.

The victim is not in court always-they use video links. So making the whole thing private is unlikely to help the victim's feelings but could undermine public confidence in the trial process.

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 06-Sep-13 14:53:48

Agree Animation.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 14:57:57

"And the proceedings have to be reported anyway, I think."

Why?

I'm the public and I'm not happy how this trial is being conducted!!

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 15:12:23

Yes we do have open justice, and in the main I agree that it is a good thing. However some highly sensitive cases are subject to media blackouts and due to the celebrity of the accused, and the nature of the accusations along with the age of the alleged victim both when the offences occurred and now, I'm rather surprised that this wasn't one of them.

Did that make any sense?

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 15:14:23

No, but I'd be a lot more unhappy with a state of affairs where a verdict was announced for a trial held in secret which heard evidence we were not told about. That's the stuff of kafka-esque Nightmares and totalitarian regimes.

Trial reporting is sometimes postponed, within strict limits, but it ought always to happen. Why do you think lawyers and some judges made such a fuss about the plans for secret courts for some terrorism hearings. Bloody sinister.

If we want less brutal treatment for victims and more convictions, we should get rid of juries. Don't just blame lawyers, its the prejudices of us, the public, that is pandered to in these trials as we sit on juries, subscribe to rape myths, blame victims and refuse to believe anyone vaguely respectable-looking or successful could be a sex offender.

ScrambledSmegs Fri 06-Sep-13 15:18:30

Also, the defence appears to be that she is making it up in order to get get a career as an actor or dancer confused

I have to admit, I did a hmm at the radio when I heard that.

Sometimes I wonder whether we should consider the american model of the alleged victim having an advocate too. It does seem as if victims in the UK are left to get on with it alone. A bit of counselling after the event doesn't really go that far to negating the effect of having your character torn to shreds in public.

EldritchCleavage Fri 06-Sep-13 15:21:21

What would the victim's advocate do though? She would still have to be cross-examined.

And actually, though it is awful, the very thinness of the supposed reasons for her to lie is laid bare for all, especially the jury, to see. My first thought on hearing it was 'Poor girl'. And my second was 'Seriously? That's all you've got Turner? Blimey.' It's not even logical-how does any of this horrific exposure amount to a showbiz career for her? I hear the sound of the barrel being scraped.

ExcuseTypos Fri 06-Sep-13 15:22:42

I agree with you OP about the reporting of the Drs evidence.

Grossly unfair to the victim.

Animation Fri 06-Sep-13 15:28:48

"And actually, though it is awful, the very thinness of the supposed reasons for her to lie is laid bare for all, especially the jury, to see"

Very true.

My thoughts are the defence is rubbish ..

Viviennemary Fri 06-Sep-13 15:32:46

I didn't think the headline were particularly biased in his favour but I was surprised at the level of detail being allowed to be reported. For example the fact that she went to a conference and heard an American speaker talk about being raped as a child and then going on to great success as a model.

And then made her accusations after that. But I suppose you could read anything into this. I read the first attack was in 2002 when she was six. (That is horrific) Which would make her now 17 if the details are correct. But I wondered too about access. Six year olds are not normally left quite alone with males who are not relatives. It's a very disturbing case indeed.

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