Law report…

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Phil Parry as judge
Phil knows his law…

During 23 years with the BBC, and 39 years as a journalist (when he was trained to use clear and simple language, avoiding jargon), legal rules have always been central for our Editor, Welshman Phil Parry, and now this has been emphasised by news about the latest controversy to engulf Donald Trump, as a woman who accuses him of rape says in court ‘I just want to get my life back’.

Earlier he described how he was assisted in breaking into the South Wales Echo (SWE) office car when he was a cub reporter, recalled his early career as a journalist, the importance of experience in the job, and making clear that the‘calls’ to emergency services as well as court cases are central to any media operation.

‘I must make sure all the legal rules are adhered to in this story…’

He has also explored how poorly paid most journalism is when trainee reporters had to live in squalid flats, the vital role of expenses, and about one of his most important stories on the now-scrapped 53 year-old BBC Wales TV Current Affairs series, Week In Week Out (WIWO), which won an award even after it was axed, long after his career really took off

Phil has explained too how crucial it is actually to speak to people, the virtue of speed as well as accuracy, why knowledge of ‘history’ is vital, how certain material was removed from TV Current Affairs programmes when secret cameras had to be used, and some of those he has interviewed.

He has disclosed as well why investigative journalism is needed now more than ever although others have different opinions, how the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown played havoc with media schedules, and the importance of the hugely lower average age of some political leaders compared with when he started reporting.

 

Classrooms were sat in, exams were taken, court cases were reported on and, after mistakes, harsh tellings off were administered.

These were all so that you had a thorough knowledge of the law, which is critical for a journalist, as well as others.

You have to know what can and cannot be said (the laws of libel), information that can be made public from a court (broadly speaking you can give what the jury HEARD during a trial, but not what the jury DIDN’T HEAR), privacy rules, copyright law, spent convictions, as well as child protection guidelines.

Reporters had to know their law

There were, however, many, many more.

All of this has been thrown into stark relief for me with news that another of an incredible number of legal cases has begun against the controversial former US President Donald Trump.

The advice columnist E Jean Carroll told a New York jury that he had raped her, leaving her unable to have a romantic relationship, and then “shattered my reputation” by denying the attack occurred.

Ms Carroll testified in her civil lawsuit (a criminal one may follow), seeking damages for battery – after Mr Trump allegedly sexually assaulted her in a New York department store changing room in 1996 – and for defamation, after he accused her of lying and perpetrating a hoax when she went public with her accusations in a book.

“I’m here because Donald Trump raped me, and when I wrote about it, he said it didn’t happen. He lied and shattered my reputation. I’m here to try and get my life back”, she told the jury.

Trump denies the accusations, and the trial is continuing. These things too you were taught had to be included, because what is said is only one half of the story and you MUST say the hearing goes on!

Before Ms Carroll testified, the judge Lewis Kaplan, warned Mr Trump that he may have crossed the line into jury-tampering (showing, perhaps, that Mr Trump doesn’t have the legal qualifications that I have!) because he had posted an attack on his social media site, ‘Truth Social’, calling her accusations a “made-up SCAM” and a “witch-hunt”.

I come across a lot of this sort of abuse as well, because people seem to be unaware that anything said on social media is PUBLISHED, and legal rules apply.

I have been accused online (incorrectly) of being a “bastard” (many times), an “anti-devolutionist wanker”, “pure scum”, a “liar” (also many times) a “little git”, and (correctly) a “nosey git”“irritating”, or a “nuisance”. But these remarks come amid many others. Too many, in fact, to mention.

Was ordering Donald Trump to testify about the Capitol riot, part of a ‘witch-hunt’?!

Also numerous are the huge problems Mr Trump faces (some of them legal charges as with Ms Carroll’s case).

For example, in the bi-partisan House of Representatives investigation into the riot attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which five people died (some say 10), it was revealed that Mr Trump engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy”.

‘I’m so unhappy about what is happening’

He, though, attacked the results of their 18-month long inquiry, by saying on his Truth Social platform: “The highly partisan Unselect Committee Report purposely fails to mention the failure of Pelosi to heed my recommendation for troops to be used in DC, show the “Peacefully and Patrioticly” words I used, or study the reason for the protest, Election Fraud. WITCH HUNT!”.

A grand jury in New York has also found two Trump Organization companies guilty of multiple charges of tax fraud and falsifying business records connected to a 15-year scheme to defraud authorities by failing to report and pay taxes on compensation for top executives.

There is little to smile about for Donald Trump because he is also facing a law suit from Stormy Daniels

The Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corporation were found guilty on all charges they faced.

Mr Trump is, too, under scrutiny by federal and state prosecutors for his handling of classified documents, and the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s business records and financial statements. Another accusation is from the porn star Stormy Daniels, who has taken her description of an affair to court, amid allegations that hush money was paid.

E Jean Carroll was not Donald Trump’s “type” he has said

He is, as well, facing a $250 million civil lawsuit from the New York attorney general alleging he and his adult children were involved in a decade-long fraud.

Mr Trump is likely, also, to face court action over allegedly attempting to alter the last Presidential ballot in America.

The Fulton County District Attorney in Georgia Fani Willis, said this week that she’ll announce charging decisions stemming from her probe into possible interference in the election by Mr Trump and his allies as early as mid-July.

Donald Trump and Fani Willis – charges may be imminent

Perhaps these things, as well, should be included in another book by Ms Carroll, along with accusations that a former president raped her…

 

Details including court stories like these by Phil, as he was gripped by the rare neurological condition Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP)have been released in a major book ‘A GOOD STORY’. Order it now!

‘BUY MY BOOK!’

Regrettably publication of another book, however, was refused, because it was to have included names.