Monday, 15 March 2010
Victims and judges
I was on ‘The Stephen Nolan Show’ on BBC Radio Ulster this morning and found myself thinking about Colm O Gorman, Andrew Madden and Marie Collins. The latter two were on the show also and if you tried, you couldn’t find people less suited to sit in judgement on the action or inaction of Cardinal Sean Brady back in the 1970s. Why? Because all three have been victims of clerical abuse. They’ve been wounded, hurt; and when you’ve been hurt, it makes it very difficult to near-impossible to think or judge on a similar case in a dispassionate manner. If a clerical sex abuse case were being tried, none of the three, I suspect, would be allowed to sit on the jury. So while it’s impossible not to feel sympathy for the three in question and for all those who’ve been abused, it’s foolishness on a gigantic scale to ask them to judge guilt or suggest punishment for involvement in similar cases. Judges, like surgeons, need to be dispassionate, uninvolved. If they’re not, they make poor judges and surgeons. So wouldn't it be great if journalists could stop asking questions of the people least qualified to give a valuable answer?