DSK: the rush to judgement in disarray

scales of justice

Prejudice – or justice?

Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested several weeks ago on a variety of sexual charges against a chambermaid in his New York Hotel. Today, he is freed of bail restrictions, though he cannot leave the USA (that’s still bail, then!).

There was an enormous and immediate rush to judge the man, following his arrest. It suited all types and groups: the American media; equally, the European media; the French public; chauvinists; feminists; racists; conspiracy theorists; they all had particular points to make. The man was pre-judged as guilty.

Whatever one may think of the American justice system, including the infamous ‘perp walk’ – the parading of the accused in public (whatever his or her status in any society), today’s events are a salutary lesson on all who took immediate sides, whether for the accused, or in defence of the accuser (we don’t yet know if she was a victim).

There’s no point in repeating details of what has happened today, and the legal challenges now being bandied about. Let’s just wait and see what emerges from these latest ‘dramatic’ events.

I have no connection with DSK, nor the hotel maid. Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a ‘tupenny f**k’ about either of them. However, I am interested in what may transpire, once legal proceedings begin in earnest – if that’s what’s to happen. I just think that it is much more than grossly unfair that a person (man or woman, famous or totally unknown, international public position or not) has been subjected to the summary pre-trial vigilantes of the press and other media, initially; and the way this attitude has been magnified by all sorts of groups and persons worldwide.

Now that it has emerged that there may be some doubts about the (legally-based) credentials and reliability of the plaintiff, why don’t we all sit back and allow the US system of justice (whatever we may think about that, in general) unfold?

Otherwise, there’s no hope at all (for either person involved) of anything resembling a fair trial.

The furore surrounding the alleged sexual encounter (in this case) reminds me of several recent examples in Bulgaria, where alleged criminals of all types (kidnappers, murderers, smugglers, traffickers, counterfeiters) have been publicly arrested to the trumpeting of the government-led media, where senior politicians have jumped to declare the guilt of the accused, and where they all subsequently turn around to blame the judiciary for not doing their job by finding many of these accused ‘not guilty’ because of a lack of evidence, or because of official (i.e., police or court) procedural irregularities.

I thought, naively, that the day of the kangaroo court was long-gone in our civilised democracies. I’m evidently an idiot.

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