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A Fair trial for Gary Glitter?

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 28 October 2012

Let me make this clear. I find Gary Glitter a loathsome individual. I would not have objected had the Vietnamese authorities stuck him in front of a firing squad for what it was proven that he did in that country. The world would not have been a worse place for it. However his arrest this morning as part of the Jimmy Savile enquiries raises a couple of questions in my mind which make me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

Firstly, the press were all there to photograph Glitter being taken off to the cells. Who alerted them? Was it individual officers in return for brown envelopes? Or was it the Met press office, keen to show that they are acting quickly, having failed to miserably to arrest Savile when the old monster was still alive? The Met has let it be known that it will make a dozen arrests in the next week including some celebs, it may be starting with the most obvious one but everyone has some rights. Glitter should not have been photographed today.

Perhaps as worryingly, I wonder if he can get a fair trial by jury? Is there anyone in this land who does not know of his past convictions, who he is and what he is proven to have done and already been convicted for? I suppose you might be able to assemble a dozen ninety year olds living in remote monastic communities or working as Crofters on the Outer Hebrides who are living in blissful ignorance. But it will be hard.

Were I on the jury I cannot see how I could approach any case laid against Glitter – if indeed he is charged – with an open mind. You might say that does not matter as even were he to be innocent of what he is charged with – if he is charged – since he is almost certainly guilty of a lot of other bad things then he should be sent down for eternity. That may well be a fair assessment but it is not justice.

Frankly I can see no way out of this pickle. Glitter cannot get a fair trial but if there is evidence against him he must be tried. Though I view Glitter with contempt what happens next may be just but is this process justice?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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