Sunday 4 December 2016

Why we should be grateful that the media cannot act as judge and jury

A nuanced impression emerged of Lillis which the media ignored in rush to portray him as a monster, writes Jody Corcoran

Published 07/02/2010 | 05:00

Eamonn Lillis at the Central Criminal Court
Eamonn Lillis at the Central Criminal Court

When Mr Justice Barry White imposed a prison sentence of almost seven years on Eamonn Lillis, he also chose to make stinging, and to my mind, highly relevant comments about the coverage of his trial, and subsequent events, by the media.

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The judge was particularly critical of the level of intrusion by the media into the lives of both the Cawley family and, interestingly, into the life of Lillis himself, and his daughter.

Immediately after sentence, this is how RTE reported the judge's criticism on its website: "Judge White called on the media to respect the privacy of the Cawley family. He said the case had attracted an extraordinary amount of media attention and he had observed, on news reports, a 'scrum' of media outside the court. He described the behaviour as an affront to human dignity."

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