Ruth Turner's good name

Ruth TurnerAs I mentioned on Luke Akehurst's blog, I feel rather sorry for Ruth Turner, formerly director of government relations at Number Ten under Tony Blair. She has committed no crime and there is insufficient evidence against her (or, for that matter, anyone else). Nevertheless, the press felt the need to drag her name through the mud. I'm sure that they were careful to stay within the letter of the law but, sadly, 'mud sticks'.

I've not met Ruth Turner myself, but I know a few people who have and they were, frankly, incredulous at the idea she could have done anything wrong. Perhaps worth looking at her CV. She helped set up The Big Issue in the North. She set up a social research company, Vision Twenty One, based on citizen's juries. She has a lot to offer UK plc, whether in government, commerce or the third sector but has had her good name besmirched by the papers.

There needs to be stronger protection, both in this case and a multitude of others that I'm sure we can all think of, for people accused of crimes. The recent Madeleine McCann coverage brought to my attention a feature of Portuguese law whereby a person questioned by the police can ask to be officially named as a suspect, which brings the equivalent (I believe) of sub judice protections. The disadvantage is that you are an official suspect (but still innocent). A similar provision here so that people can garner some protection for themselves against the more feral instincts of the media would be welcome.


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