The role of Australia’s mass media regulations in the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Part 3m: Are the Australian and British Governments trying to rig the Jacintha Saldanha Inquest?

Are the Australian and British Governments trying to deliberately rig the Jacintha Saldanha Inquest? I am no expert in legal matters but it very much looks as thought this may be what is happening.

[Note: the short link URL for this posting is: http://wp.me/p1n8TZ-cB ]

There are a number of factors that make that a very fair question.

The British Government’s refusal to provide legal aid to Jacintha’s husband, Ben, and her children Lisha and Junal may well be a case of “nemo iudex in causa sua.” That is a fancy way of saying that you should not sit in judgement when you have a vested interest in the outcome.

  1. There are glaringly obvious parallels with the News of the World phone hacking scam. That disgraceful scandal involved the alleged secret recording of telephone conversations by a mass media organization (News of the World) for commercial gain. This activity involved breaches of  criminal laws and people have been prosecuted.
  2. In a direct parallel, 2Day FM secretly recorded the phone call with Jacintha for commercial gain, an activity that is a crime in both Britain and Australia. That unlawful activity was the catalyst for triggering a fatal fugue.
  3. From reports in the British media, it appears that the police investigation may be mis-focusing on the 3 letters written by Jacintha AFTER the phone call triggered a depressive fugue rather than concentrating on the phone call.
  4. Under New South Wales law, a crime that results in a fatality means that this death is a MURDER. So why is The Met’ playing down this fact of law and emphasizing Jacintha’s post 2Day FM phone call letters instead?
  5. Yes, those letters are significant, but the crucial issue is the illegal 2Day FM recording of their attempt to obtain confidential medical details about the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge.
  6. Neither the London Coroner’s Court nor the Westminster Coroner’s Court would provide me with any name and contact details for the lawyer who was assisting, Ben, Lisha and Junal. I had to find this out for myself!
  7. Why didn’t either of these courts promptly make this information available when requested?
  8. The most logical reason and extremely worrying reason is that they did not want me to pass on any information that may be of any assistance to the family’s (pro bono) lawyer, John Cooper QC.
  9. If that was the case, then the very clear implication is that the inquest is going to be a ‘Kangaroo Court’, i.e. the coroner conducting the inquest has already pre-determined the outcome and nothing that may challenge that outcome, i.e. politically embarrassing facts, are going to be allowed to alter the inquest’s proceedings or findings.
  10. Readers should also  note that the police officer who appears to leading the coroner’s investigation,  Detective Chief Inspector James Harman, has not contacted any of the Australians who have made written submissions to the inquest.
  11. Any guesses as to why these people are being deliberately excluded from the investigation?
  12. Is he deliberately avoiding interviewing these people so as to limit the flow of information or evidence that might undermine any pre-determined findings?

The primary function of the Justice System in a democratic society is to protect the innocent. It is a gross travesty of justice when that system is deliberately misused to protect the guilty by shifting blame on to the victim(s).

Recently I posted page 1 of a 3-page letter from the office of Senator Conroy ( http://wp.me/p1n8TZ-b0  ) and it is clear from the content of that letter that Senator Conroy and his staff intend to ensure that 2Day FM does not face any criminal charges over Jacintha’s death.

  1. Senator Conroy ‘s problem is that if 2Day FM personnel are charged with causing her death, then the trial would almost certainly draw attention to the role played by the ACMA in using as its benchmark for action, “EXTREME tolerance” of inappropriate conduct rather than “Zero Tolerance” as the tolerance level for inappropriate conduct.
  2. If the ACMA’s  “EXTREME tolerance” standard is either Culpable Negligence or Contributory Negligence in triggering Jacintha’s death, then the Australian Government can be sued.
  3. On the 7th March, just hours before the British Government decided that Ben, Lisha and Junal were entitled to legal aid, the South Australian Supreme Court awarded $4.3 million in compensation to Professor John Knight for having been sacked as a surgeon by the SA Government.
  4. That $4.3 million in compensation is the same amount as the compensation paid by the West Australian Government in July 20010 for the death in custody of Ian Ward.
  5. Quite clearly, Ben, Lisha and Junal are entitled to a similar level of compensation. (Each?)
  6. The problem for Senator Conroy is that if ACMA’s pseudo  “EXTREME tolerance”  safety standard is Culpable Negligence, then the Australian Government could be facing thousands of claims amounting to billions of dollars!
  7. Such claims could result in similar class actions against the British Government for any deaths or harm caused by inadequate mass media regulations.

Check out the lead sentence on page 2 of the letter from Senator Conroy’s office. 3-1-13 Jarad Henry page 2“The Codes provide that all program content must meet contemporary standards of decency, having regard to the like characteristics of the audience…”

Just where in “contemporary standards of decency …characteristics of the audience. is there any concern for individual people or social groups who are targeted with Victimization or Commercial Exploitation? In essence, the Australian Government has no problems with broadcasters  if they keep the public happy at the expensive of an individual or targeted social groups who may be traumatized or otherwise harmed by the actions of broadcaster(s).

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it should. I’m sure you have heard of the phrase “throwing the Christians to the lions”? 2,000 years ago Roman emperors were quite happy to maintain “contemporary standards of decency” and keep the citizens of Rome occupied and entertained by herding slaves and prisoners into the arena and then allowing them to be mauled to death by half starved packs of dogs, lions, etc. Those “contemporary standards of decency” might have made great viewing for the audience but the impact upon those feed to the lions was traumatic to say the least!

  1. In “the Code” is there any obligation upon an Australian broadcaster to consider the potentially harmful impact of their behaviour, not upon the audience but upon the target of the broadcaster’s actions?
  2. The answer is that there is NO obligation to consider “Duty of Care” obligations.
  3. In practice, as the death of Jacintha Saldanha so graphically highlighted, Australia’s media codes are effectively throwing helpless victims “to the lions.”
  4. These so-called broadcasting Codes of conduct do NOT impose the necessary legal “Duty of Care” obligations that are needed to protect vulnerable people , especially the 1 in 5 Australians with mental health problems.
  5. Heck, they do not protect anyone that the mass media may care to target as Penney Easton’s family found out the hard way!
  6. In Australia, 1 in 5 has a mental health problem and the most common form of violent death in Australia is suicide. Check out page 23 0f the 1998 National Mental Health report which is at:
  7. http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/8E0E3BC67E3962AFCA25712B0080235F/$File/nhpaall.pdf
  8. This report states: “Suicide is a leading cause of death in Australia, resulting in a total of 2,393 deaths (1,931 males, 462 females) in 1996. Since 1990, suicides have exceeded road injury deaths and have been the leading cause of death due to injury in Australia (DHFS& AIHW 1998a).
  9. The report also states: People with a history of mental disorder are 10 times more at risk of dying from suicide compared to the general population.”
  10. Clearly, in Australia, there was a high risk that inappropriate conduct could have fatal consequences, but the risk was ignored by 2Day FM, for as the The Codes provide…” statement makes quite clear, the risks to victims is NOT a factor that broadcasters need to consider!
  11. “contemporary standards of decency” is most definitely NOT a safety standard!  What it is nothing more than gross criminal negligence by a national government that has put the interests of the mass media ahead of its responsibility to the public!

Who  actually benefits from “contemporary standards of decency”?

The answer is that it is the broadcasters who deliberately exploit individuals and vulnerable social groups for it means that they can do so with impunity and with the official blessing of the mass media regulators. As Jarad Henry’s letter clearly reveals, the mass media benefits, especially when vulnerable people like Jacintha Saldanha die!

COMPLAINTS IN WRITING ONLY – Verbal complaints are Not accepted.

  1. As  comments in the above letter also make quite clear, any complaints must be made in writing.
  2. However, 46% of Australians are FUNCTIONALLY ILLITERATE and only 25% have the necessary high order literacy skills needed to write out what is, legally, ‘A Statement of Claim’ that protests the inappropriate conduct of a broadcaster!
  3. Check out:

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4102.0Chapter6102008

This document contains the following statements:

  • Almost half of all Australians aged 15-74 years had literacy skills below level 3 (46% had prose literacy skills below level 3 and 47% had document literacy skills below this level) and more than half (53%) had numeracy skills below level 3.
  • One-quarter of people scored level 3 or above in all four domains.
  • This is known as “stacking the odds” in favour of broadcasters with the odds even worse because any complaints are vetted by the broadcaster’s lawyers!

With such extremely shonky, pseudo safety and media accountability systems like this, is it any wonder that neither the British or Australian governments want any finding that may apportion blame for Jacintha’s death on either 2Day FM or the ACMA?

Sadly, it looks like “the fix is in” as far as Jacintha Saldanha’s inquest is concerned. Without legal representation at the inquest, the credibility of British Justice is on the line.

Ronald Medlicott – A Christian advocate for welfare justice.

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2 Responses to The role of Australia’s mass media regulations in the death of Jacintha Saldanha. Part 3m: Are the Australian and British Governments trying to rig the Jacintha Saldanha Inquest?

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