Kenneth is angry and disturbed. Disturbed as in miffed not as in mentally insane. I can tell that he is miffed, pissed off and angry because his last post shows clear signs of impatient anger at the quality of some reporting in the Maltese media. What I cannot tell, simply by reading Kenneth's article is whether Kenneth was mentally insane, as in disturbed.
Now before anyone thinks I am going off on one of my insulting modes, I only wrote the above paragraph in order to demonstrate why I think Kenneth's anger is misplaced. My point here is that although J'Accuse has often been on the critical side of the journalistic methods applied in Malta - methods that warrant a couple of investigations by the Maltese Magistratura to find out which "cupola" decides what news is relevant - in this case I believe that I find no wrong in the way the alleged gang rape was reported.
I will spare you the comparisons between the the way the Times, the Independent, l-Orizzont and PBS radio reported the matter. Kenneth has done that here. I will refer directly to Kenneth's quotes to show what I mean so it will be a good idea to pop over at the Repository and read Kenneth's post first.
Now. Kenneth's anger is based on four comparisons which when summed up would say " Why doesn't the Times tell us that three refugees and two illegal immigrants raped two Swedish girls?" and "Why doesn't it mention that the persons under investigation are Somali and Libyan?"
The first, obvious matter that comes to mind is the presumption of innocence. It does not mean that I believe that anyone is innocent or guilty. It means that I am bound by the law that makes us all free to presume that anyone accused is innocent until proven guilty. As such there is no rapist until a court of law declares it so. For all that matters, an equally heinous crime of violent assault could be described as rape by the alleged victim. Both l-Orizzont and PBS are out on a limb if they say that the teenagers were raped. They could say that the Swedish girls allege that they were raped - but not that there has been a rape. No sir. Otherwise we turn all the criminal system topsy turvy. Otherwise the aforesaid journalists might as well be judge and jury.
The second point related to the crime is also related to aggravations. I have no time to fish outt the details from the criminal code. If my memory serves me right, the aggravations to rape could include the time of the offence, weapons used for coercion and other matters that do not, however, include nationality. Neither the nationality of the offender nor that of the victim are any cause of consideration for criminal law. In other words, Somali, Libyan and Swedish, or for what that matters, man from Qormi, Gozo or Sliema are colourful additions for the press and for conspiracy theorists who would want to draw parallel conclusions but they are completely IRRELEVANT for the crime of rape.
Which leaves us to the condition of the girls. L-Orizzont states that they were raped. Now, barring any possibility that the intrepid Orizzont journalist (and hose of the PBS radio) were equipped with the necessary forensic equipment to verify the rape and the physical conditions of the girls, any statement by journalists on rape, scratches, conditions of clothes etc would be completely irrelevant in a court of law. What we have here is a journalist trying to give as much as he or she can on a story and at times overstretching his or her imagination to make it colourful for the reader.
Having said that the rape, if it was a rape is condemnable. The perpetrators, if proven guilty are punishable. I have enough fate in Maltese Criminal law to believe that this will be done. I also have enough hope to believe that the trial will be fair and just when it considers five persons before it as such and that no preconditioned decisions will be made on the basis of race, colour or creed.
The last point goes to Kenneth. I still believe that Kenneth is not a racist. I believe that Kenneth, like many other Maltese , is being conditioned in thinking in these terms by the sad circumstances of our nation's immigration policy. The mishandling of immigrants can have numerous side effects. Thus when they are kept in inhuman conditions and treated like animals I do have hope that our justice system will reflect a system of values that has until now remained silent. A system of values that should be appalled by rapes and inhuuman treatment alike. A system of values that acts swiftly and punishes those responsible for the existence of such acts. I also hope that our justice system will punish all those who have been perpetrating crimes of intimidation and damage to private property.
In that way only will I be proud to be Maltese.
Others: Kinnie & Twistees on racism
Today's news on the Times published the full details of the case in Court. I still stand by what I said above since I was discussing reporting of cases by journalists. In today's article the full details are given - rightly so - because what the journalist is doing here is reporting proceedings in Court. It is different from gratuitous information and descriptions added when the facts are not clear. In the meantime we are also given another article here - this time about an immigrant injure in a "racist attack". Do note the inverted commas in the title - clearly indicating a supposition. Once again we leave it up to the justice system of the island to find the perpetrators, and possibly indicate their motives.
*Picture: Veronese: Lucrezia stabbing herself