Today I saw on a friend’s social networking profile that they had ‘shared’ a picture of what Jon Venables and Robert Thompson are meant to look like now. It got me thinking – do they still deserve a right to privacy?
I think the trial in the first place was difficult, for a start I don’t think that they should have been tried in an adult court. As Morrison so clearly puts it:
Venables and Thompson being tried before a jury of 10 year olds, since this would fulfil the role that juries are intended to serve – trial by one’s peers…most people would regard such an idea as preposterous, not least because they would not trust the juror’s maturity, judgement and intelligence. But…these were the very qualities said to be present in the two boys when they killed James Bulger.
Yes, the crime that these boys committed was horrendous to say the least, but at the end of the day they were just boys. A little recognised fact is that a similar case occurred in Norway, around the same time as the James Bulger case. Instead of shutting the boys out, Norway treated them almost as victims, as boys let down by society, and tried to rehabilitate them. Of course there were differences between the two cases, but none-the-less the difference in treatment is significant.
I feel that keeping the identities of the boy’s (now men) involved in the UK private is a good idea, not just for the men themselves but for society at large. More harm than good would come from releasing their identities, and whose interests would it serve? It will not make the tragedy any less horrific nor sad. It will not right any wrongs, nor will it change the past.
I cannot even begin to imaging what it feels like to lose a child, especially under the circumstances which occurred in 1993, but I cannot look lightly on anyone acting as part of a lynch mob and attempting outing those that the courts have deemed need protection.