Proliferation of "do-it-yourself" justice
Trial by media
Alleged cases of miscarriage of justice are being retrialed on television.
It is a shameful indictment of our present legal system that people whose cases have never been properly aired should have to rely on trial by media. A growing number of prisoners, desperate in their pursuit of legal redress, but disillusioned about the appeals system, may see the media as their only hope and turn themselves into one-man publicity stunts, hoping that their case in intriguing and photogenic enough for someone to find the fresh evidence that might just get it back to the Court of Appeal.
Media reexamination of doubtful verdicts can lead to the eventual freeing of the innocent by disclosure of new evidence and the marshalling of public opinion. Cases chosen to be investigated by the media represent only a tiny minority of those seeking the attention and research, but are often those that do not satisfy the slow and narrow appeal procedure of an inflexible legal system. Those chosen benefit from six months researching, which a defence lawyer cannot afford to do.