Free Corey Delaney!

Well, not really, but I hope the charges possibly laid against him are substantive ones and not just related to being an idiot. (It’s difficult to tell whether he has in fact been charged and if so, with what offence or offences as Victorian law prevents the names of the “two teenagers” being released, though his arrest was apparently not subject to any reporting restrictions).

There are actually some serious issues here.

First, while I’m all for individual responsibility, I don’t see why the Victorian Police have a right to bill anyone for doing their job and still less to charge one individual for property damage he can’t solely have been responsible for. By all means proceed against individuals against whom concrete facts can be alleged, but some sort of exemplary punishment seems ludicrously contrary to any notions of due process, and for that matter, the presumption of innocence. David Hicks was someone a lot of people might have thought reasonably to have been acting foolishly, and though the scope of the miscarriage of justice in the Hicks case far exceeded in seriousness what’s going on here, as far as I’m aware, there are idiots who are 66 as well as 16, and lacking judgement or being a dropkick is not a crime in and of itself.

Secondly, it’s not all the fault of the intertubes. I remember parties getting out of control when I was a teenager in the 80s, and uninvited yobs turning up, and kids doing dumb things like smashing garden gnomes and urinating on cars. No doubt it’s very unpleasant for all concerned, and shouldn’t be condoned, but surprise, surprise, stuff happened before text messages and Myspace existed.

Thirdly, the coverage of all this by the media is beyond belief. There’s a complete timeline up to midday today in Crikey, for those who want to review it. Particularly if there are laws preventing publicity for underage offenders, it seems to me that news organisations had no duty to assist Corey Delaney in making a fool of himself, and given his age, a positive duty to refrain from doing so.

Corey’s irresponsibility is mirrored by that of the media and the absurd nanny-statist Laura Norder-ism that state governments are so prone to.

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