William Roache was found not guilty. This means that after reviewing all of the evidence in front of them, a jury of 12 people, with guidance from a judge, decided that he could not be found guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
Whatever you think about anonymity of defendants (that’s a subject for another time, and probably another blog), I’ll take the moment to say that false rape accusations are basically in-line with false accusations for any other crime. That’s just something I want to make very clear.
What grabs me about the situation, though, is that the media have taken just 24 hours to commit what I would call a staggering about-turn if I weren’t so wholly unsurprised. The same newspapers that printed front-page headlines of accusations within quote marks (which makes it totally fine guys) are now demanding to know how it ever got to trial. They’re also weighing – very partially and without much thought – into said debate about anonymity.
Seriously. The same publications that toed just the legal side of the line between assertion and second-hand reporting, thereby ruining the man’s reputation, are now asking whether he should have been named. Presumably, this is a complete abandonment of editorial responsibility, an admittance that nobody can control the constant flow of shit gossip from our newspapers, not even when the subject matter is rape and the lives and livelihoods of people are at stake.
Well, that sounds about right.