You’re aware by now that I take particular issue with News Ltd’s relentlessly dishonest and misleading campaign on criminal sentencing, which it furthers by constantly exaggerating, underplaying and omitting crucial facts in the cases it covers – because the result of it is that its readers have demonstrably false beliefs on the subject, and consequently, insofar as certain easily swayed politicians and lawmakers are influenced by the imagined desires of the ignorant, and impose those on real people, actual injustice results.

There was another egregious example in the Herald Sun on Sunday morning. (No, I don’t know why they reported it in the Sunday edition, given that the most recently it could have happened would have been Friday.)

It starts:

A TEENAGE burglar who terrorised Melbourne for more than a year, breaking into dozens of homes, has escaped with no jail time, no fine and no conviction.

“I had a good lawyer. My lawyer told me I would probably get off,” the 15-year-old has boasted.

He got off? That’s outrageous! He should have received some kind of punishment! What kind of lessons is that kid going to learn if magistrates just pat him on the back and let him walk out without any consequence whatsoever?

No wonder that was the lead story on the Herald Sun website! I’ve never been so appalled in my… hang on a second.

Victims of crime supporters and residents are dumbfounded after a Children’s Court magistrate put the teen on a youth supervision order.

No, wait, he did receive a punishment. A “Youth Supervision Order“. What’s that? Well, nowhere in the article is that explained, but the implication is that it’s giving the kid an ice-cream or something. I don’t need to check further – I’m sure if a Youth Supervision Order involved, say, being forced to work with Youth Justice and undertake the programs they instruct, re-engaging with the education they’ve neglected, performing community work as punishment, enduring restrictions on movement and so forth, then the Herald Sun would have included those very important details in its story. They wouldn’t deliberately leave me with a false impression that the kid “got off” if a Youth Supervision Order involved any of the above!

What, that is actually what a Youth Supervision Order involves?

Really? They’ve deliberately left readers with a false impression that someone has “got off” when they haven’t – again?

We’ve really got to stop being so credulous – News Ltd have long since lost the right to have anything they say taken at face value. Particularly on this issue.

As it happens (if one looks it up, something apparently beyond certain “journalists”), a Youth Supervision Order entails precisely what a Herald Sun editorialist might call for when opining vacuously on the case:

He was certainly not mature enough to be living, as he seems to have been, without strict supervision…

Troubled teenagers need rules if they are to find hope and healing. They need to learn skills to manage anger and gain insights into how their aggressive and anti-social behaviour can hurt other people.

We must all do what we can, in a pro-active way, to help young people move from self-destruction to self-discipline. Sometimes that requires tough love.

Exactly. Like a Youth Supervision Order. Which is what the Magistrate imposed.

As for –

We cannot report who he is, where he lives, publish a picture or pixelated image of the criminal – because of increasingly severe legal restrictions designed to protect the identity of young offenders.

“Increasingly”? What are they talking about? Sure, there’s a general principle that for young offenders, it’s much better for the community that they don’t get locked into a life of crime by being publicly branded HOPELESS CRIMINALS by newspapers before they’ve even reached adulthood, but that’s been the case for years.

But of course, I’m coming from a position where reducing crime is the aim. The Hun is coming from a position where the whole point is to sell newspapers by scaring people – and if you have to undermine efforts to rehabilitate a misguided youth to do it, so be it. No wonder we don’t see eye to eye.

ELSEWHERE: Naturally Andrew Bolt ran the same shameless line as his newspaper, adding a particularly stupid headline – “Give the crook a 66th chance”, as if the boy had been dealt with by a court 65 times already.

(Visited 249 times, 1 visits today)