Media Release: 07 June 2008: ACT Democrats Question Crimestoppers Website


Media Release: 07 June 2008

ACT Democrats Question Crimestoppers Website

ACT Democrats President, Darren Churchill has described the new Crimestoppers website as “an outrageous violation of privacy!”

ABC News reported today about a new Crimestoppers website which displays pictures of suspected criminals and people who may have witnessed a crime. The website has been attacked by Civil Liberties Australia.

“The Civil Liberties people are right to raise concerns about the Crimestoppers website. The website denies the presumption of innocence to people accused of a crime and consequently denies them the right to a fair trial. It also places potential witnesses at risk by publicising their identity.” Mr Churchill said.

“People suspected of a crime have a right to a fair trial and the due processes of law. This is a whole new dimension to trial by media – it’s trial by Internet!”

“Being caught on CCTV may be fairly damning evidence. But surely the due process of the law still has to be followed.”

“When people witness a crime or think they may have witnessed a crime, they usually respond confidentially to a police appeal for information and may wish their identity to be kept secret as much as possible.”

“I would like to know how police aim to protect witnesses from attack when they have had their faces plastered all over a public website?” inquired Mr Churchill

“Surely, police resources need to targeted at the areas that the community has identified as a priority. I’d like to see such things as more police on the beat, better resourcing of Neighbourhood Watch schemes, and a more open, safer and well lit urban environment to help reduce crime.” Mr Churchill said.

“The ACT Democrats have long advocated public education about safety, greater co-operation and consultation between the police and the community, and improvements to police response times.” continued Mr Churchill.

“I’m not sure how violating privacy by an individual having their face plastered all over a Crimestoppers website helps public safety.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill
ACT Democrats President
Tel: 0412 196 473

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