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DAY ONE - Neil Entwistle trial: 'In all my 35 years in journalism, 25 as an editor, I have never seen anything like it'

AS the trial of Worksop councillor's son Neil Entwistle finally gets under way in Boston, USA, it seems like we have already heard everything, and all the court needs to do now is pronounce him guilty or innocent.

Yet the case proper, the actual presentation of the facts of the case, has not yet even started. Instead, day one sees the start of the process of selecting the jury who will eventually decide Neil Entwistle's fate.

But everybody who can access the internet will probably know all the evidence off by heart. It has been rabidly and rapaciously repeated over and again by various American newspaper sites, who seem to have prejudged the verdict even as far back as February 2006, when Neil was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife and baby daughter.

So where on earth will they find a jury of men and women unaware of, or unaffected by, any of this?

In all my 35 years in journalism, 25 as an editor, I have never seen anything like it. The restraints on the press coverage in the USA seem non-existent. Over here in the UK, once Entwistle had been charged, that's pretty much about all the media could report about it until the trial started.

In the USA, the prosecution case has been made available to journalists who have been gleefully reporting every last detail in print and online, picking over every sordid detail and expanding and speculating on every scrap... something I am proud to say the Worksop Guardian has stoically refused to do.

There is even a book coming out, with the somewhat biased title 'Heartless' - a book written before the trial has even started.

In the UK the author of a book like this would probably be hauled into court to face contempt charges.

The fact remains that Neil Entwistle is innocent until proven guilty.

The coverage so far, certainly on the part of the American media, has been entirely the opposite.

 
 
 

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