Theophanous call for privacy comes a bit late

October 18, 2008 |

Both the Age and the Herald Sun have run almost identical articles about Theo Theophanous calling for privacy.  No surprises why.  Both AAP pick ups.  I wholeheartedly agree with the call for privacy (that amorphous non legal concept which should be protected by the law.  Another comment for another time) but have a bit of a problem with the call being made now.  It seems that the  Theophanous camp has already ascribed a motive to his accuser (a payout, compensation however else you want to describe it) and engaged in some public banter.  While I can understand the spin (maybe) it is a bit hard to call for privacy after you have indulged in a bit of media play yourself.  But never to late to change tack. 

The statement has its own flaws.  It reads:

“I just want to make a statement on behalf of the family following some legal advice that we’ve got,” Harry Theophanous said.

“We want to again inform the media that it’s inappropriate for anyone to make any public comments about this case as it would amount to interfering with a police investigation.

This paragraph is overbroad to the point of being just plain wrong.  So anyone making any public comments about “this case” ( whatever that means) constitutes an interference with the police investigation.  New law being created right before our very eyes.  So the Premier’s general commentary about his lack of knowledge until the last moment and urging the police to investigate quickly, as he did, is an interference.  Really?  Comments about the way the controversy has been reported is an interference with a police investigation.  Who would have thunk it!  The paragraph is just plain nonsense. Dramatic nonsense, but nonsense nevertheless.  Whether there has been interference, hinderance, perverting the course of justice depends on what is said to whom and when.  It is, like most things in the law, a matter of looking at the facts and applying the principles.  Be sure that the boys in blue won’t be pulling out the bracelets and slapping them on everyone who makes a comment about “the case.”

“For this reason, my father is unable to speak to the press, the family is trying to deal with a difficult situation and we’d like our privacy respected.

Of course Theo Theophanous can speak to the press.  Whether he should is an entirely different matter.  In the normal course he would be foolish to do so.  But that is not what the statement says.  Again, it depends on what he says and why.

“We urge you to let justice take its course and allow the police to complete their inquiries.

“There will be no further comments from the family, thanks.”

  With a bit less commentary this sad saga should loss some of its spark.  Or at least one can only hope.  As for Theophanous’ legal advice, well I whatever the author was smoking, it is time to share man!

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