Don’t want to appear in the paper? Don’t do the crime

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We get many irate phone calls to the office, some of them warranted some of them just downright foolish.

We get irate calls because we have made a mistake. We all do. Deal with it.

We also get irate calls from people who don’t think we have got something right. Usually we have. Deal with it.

But we also get calls from people who don’t think a court case should have appeared in these columns.

We have every right to print them. You have a right to know what your neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances have been up to. Deal with it.

One of the most ridiculous of these calls came just a few days ago.

An irate caller told us we had “ruined someone’s life” by printing a court case.

Nonsense. If a life has been ruined at all, it has been ruined by the perpetrator of whatever the crime in question was.

I have no idea at all which court case was being complained about.

I don’t know if the criminal involved admitted the offences or was found guilty by a court of law.

But what I do know is we have a statutory right, almost a statutory obligation, to report the proceedings of criminal courts.

There are many rules about what we can and cannot report from criminal proceedings before magistrates or crown court judges.

Trust me, attending them is no one’s idea of fun and there are never many newsroom volunteers for a trip to the local courts.

It can be a harrowing day for the reporter - a human being after all - and reporting the proceedings is a difficult task.

If you don’t want to end up with your name in a reporter’s notebook, stay out of court.

If you don’t you will end up with your name in this newspaper and your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues will know what you have been up to.

Justice must not just be done. It must always be seen to be done.

That’s what we do when we attend court.

Deal with it.