I have no idea if Christopher Jefferies had anything to do with the death of Joanna Yeates. He has been released on police bail today after 3 days of questioning. The problem is that some of the media coverage of the last few days would make you think that he has already been tried, convicted and is on his way to the gallows.
The Telegraph: (From an unnamed former tenant): "On several occasions he even entered our flat unannounced.". There are a few of my previous landlords that the police might want to bring in for questioning too in that case.
It seems Jefferies is getting the same treatment as Tom Stephens did initially in the Ipswich Ripper case (when it turned out that he had nothing to do with the murders but not before his reputation had been left in tatters by the press) or Robert Murat who was arrested in connection with the disappearence of Madeleine McCann in Portugal back in 2007 only to later be cleared of suspicion but again his life was shattered by the coverage of him being a "weirdo" and "loner". Spotting a pattern yet?
"The finger-pointing and character assassination by social and news media of an as yet innocent men has been shameful. It has made me lose a lot of faith in the morality of the British Press and those that spend their time fixed to the internet in this modern age."
He is absolutely spot on. Also, as I have seen commented more than once, it is actually dangerous for the media to follow witchhunts like this. If Mr Jefferies is ever brought to trial it is going to be difficult to find 12 people who are not already prejudiced in some way by the media coverage. Indeed the Attorney General Dominic Grieve has already commented to this effect and is clearly concerned about it.
This has to stop. Freedom of the press is a vital part of our democracy but they have to be more responsible in their reporting. I suspect that in the end if they do not do this themselves, they will be forced to do so by law. We cannot go on with the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" being so comprehensively trashed over and over again.