Guilty until proven innocent?

I have been following the scandal involving a very senior member of the Lib/Dems with a significant amount of concern.

I am not a great friend of the Lib/Dems, and that hasn't miraculously changed  with the coalition - it was and is necessary for the good of the country that the Conservatives and Lib/Dems work together but this has not magically removed the differences between the two parties.

However my first reaction to the story is to hope that the media have checked this story a great deal more carefully than the BBC recently checked an even more serious allegation about a Conservative peer which turned out to be complete rubbish.

If the story is true then the individual concerned should have been driven out of public life, or at least out of any position where he could prey on young women, a long time ago. If it is not true, he is the victim of a serious injustice.

It ought not to be beyond the wit of man to find a middle way when serious allegations are made against important figures in public life, between sweeping them under the carpet until the accused is dead, as happened with Jimmy Saville and with Cyril Smith, and wrecking the reputations of the accused without taking adequate precautions to ensure this doesn't happen to someone innocent, as the BBC did to Lord McAlpine.

The media show trial of the former Lib/Dem Chief Executive which has been going on for the past few days does not inspire me with confidence that this middle way has been found.


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