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COMMENTARY: The case for not naming those not yet convicted of crimes – National

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In the business of talk radio, and opinion journalism generally, you’re always on the lookout for “talkers” — stories that are accessible enough to the public to be interesting to many people, and important enough to hold their attention. In early December, the York Regional Police, a regional service in the Greater Toronto Area, handed us a hell of a talker.

Frustrated by stubbornly high impaired driving rates, the York police had decided to begin naming-and-shaming those charged with impaired driving offences. Read what I said carefully there — charged with offences. Not convicted of them. York Region is far from the first to do this. Most of the other Toronto-area forces already do, at least selectively, and some have been doing so for years. But the decision by York to begin naming and shaming still provoked a lot of debate.

READ MORE: York police name drivers charged with impaired driving 

But it was, I think, the wrong one.

The debate we had was whether York should be identifying people who are merely accused of impaired driving, even though they haven’t been convicted yet. I had a lot of passionate responses from listeners on my show, protesting how outrageous this is, since accused drunk drivers are innocent until proven guilty. I confess I was baffled. We publicly name accused people — still innocent under the law — all the time. York Region was reversing a double exception: it was the rare GTA force that wasn’t already naming drunks, and drunks themselves were an exception to the norm of naming those arrested and charged for other crimes.

That’s when the absurdity of the entire debate hit me. This isn’t about whether we should be naming drunk drivers in one region of a million souls. The issue was actually vastly more fundamental. Should we be naming anyone accused but not yet convicted of a crime?

And I think the answer is no.

You might not believe this, given the above, but I’ve always thought of myself as a law-and-order guy. Tough on crime, from a family with a long history of police service. I still think of myself that way. But I also recognize that there are two major changes happening right now.

READ MORE: Google heads to Europe’s top court to fight order to remove search results worldwide

Google, for starters, has an awfully long memory. News is now permanent. Get yourself arrested and charged and there’s a very good chance that a record of that is going to be available online forever. But while the news may be effectively permanent now, a reporter’s attention to any particular case is not. The fact that you’re arrested has a much better chance of making the news, or a web database, than most of what comes next.

The charges could be dropped or stayed, you could be acquitted, you could be convicted of a lesser offence, but none of this is likely to be as accessible to the public. We already know that incarceration has massively negative impacts on one’s future employment prospects. I worry that a mere arrest, only the first part of a legal process all of us are owed, will become the only real public record of an offence, with potentially devastating impacts on one’s life no matter what comes after that arrest.

I’m not the first to notice this problem. The European Union and Argentina have enacted controversial “right to be forgotten” laws designed, in part, to address this very issue — making sure one’s first Google hit forever is not a report of some minor crime. It’s an awkward and imperfect attempt to address the real problem I’m describing, but it’s also complicated. My solution is easier — not reporting on mere accusations, and not publicly naming the accused, will solve this issue more effectively.

WATCH BELOW: Three things drivers need to know about new impaired driving law






There’s also the issue that our legal system is so dysfunctional that the dysfunction itself now acts as a form of extralegal punishment. Canadian courts are obscenely overloaded, clogged up with too many cases and massive delays. The causes of this are complex; I won’t get into them at length here. But it’s now routine to read about some accused criminal or another having a court appearance for routine matters and then, at the end, the next appearance is booked more than a full calendar year later. That’s absolutely insane. These people are not guilty yet under the law. They are innocent until proven guilty, but it might take them months or even years to get the chance to clear their name. In the meantime, they’re accused and unable to defend themselves pending a court system that is failing all of us, stranded in legal limbo. This itself is punitive, especially because the public will only know that they have been charged, and won’t wait around for a verdict years later before deciding if they are a bad guy.

The grim reality is this: “innocent until proven guilty” is a talking point we all pay lip service to, but most us don’t really buy into it. About a year ago, a man in my neighbourhood was accused of a serious crime — a very serious one. And I’m confident the Crown will make the case. But the mood in the community was that that’s just a formality. “String him up now” was the attitude of more than one person I talked to. When I pointed out that he wasn’t convicted of anything yet, I was treated as little better than an accomplice. Yes, it’s true the crime was terrible, involving children. But fundamental legal rights have to apply to everyone, all the time, or else they’re neither rights or fundamental.

To put it more bluntly: we would all demand the presumption of innocence for ourselves, while most would have no desire to extend that courtesy to others. It’s just not how we’re wired. We’re more inclined to form a posse than a jury. It’s our nature, and we need to recognize that nature, and work our way around it. Granting anonymity to virtually all accused criminals until they’re convicted is a recognition that despite our stated ideals, most of us really do assume that charged is as good as guilty.

WATCH BELOW: York regional police begins naming drivers charged with impaired driving






I haven’t come to this conclusion lightly. I have two major objections to my own point. The first: I work in the media. It’s our job to learn and report. Media companies, Global News included, routinely go to court to get more information on criminal proceedings. It is weird for me to be arguing for less information to be publicly released, and I’m sure my reporter colleagues are wondering what the hell I’m drinking as I write this (lukewarm Diet Pepsi, for the record).

The other issue is narrower but more important: you may have noticed I fudged one of my own bold declarations above just a tiny bit. I said we should grant “anonymity to virtually all accused criminals.” (Emphasis added.) I’m a pragmatist. There are sometimes very good reasons to release the name of an accused, and perhaps even a mugshot. It can be hugely helpful for law enforcement when they need the public’s help with their investigation, especially when there’s the possibility of more victims, including some that may still be in danger. And there will certainly be times when the police are looking for a suspect they don’t have in custody yet, and release details about that person to assist in their search. I can’t in good conscience argue that that’s a bad thing.

So what I’m proposing is that we withhold publicly naming those accused of crimes until they’re convicted, unless there’s a pressing law enforcement need to publicize that information. The courts would probably be best placed to make that call in the same way they already review search warrant requests.

It’s not a perfect solution. It couldn’t apply evenly to all accused, and there are genuine issues regarding free expression and freedom of the press. I am reluctant to make this proposal. I’m not sure I’ve entirely convinced myself.

But on balance, I think this is still something we need to do, and the sooner the better. And if you felt even the slightest unease when you heard York Region was going to begin naming and shaming accused drunk drivers, you probably agree with me, at least in part.

Matt Gurney is host of The Exchange with Matt Gurney on Global News Radio 640 Toronto and a columnist for Global News.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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