Take care in naming suspects

Freedom of the press is the bedrock of democracy and must be jealously guarded at all expense. Similarly, the right to a fair trial is foremost and inextricably linked to liberty and the preservation of a democratic society.

A delicate balance must at all times be achieved between these two very essential pillars, unless the framework of democracy will be decimated.

The recent story by Mr. James Whittaker, titled “No charges yet in exotic pet investigation” flirts very dangerously with offsetting this balance and potentially undermines the trust, confidence and impartiality one is entitled to expect from a responsible journalist. The title of the story is self-evident, and requires no further examination.

There appears a vast inconsistency and selectivity in the practice of naming suspects prior to charge.

In this case Mr. Whittaker has singled out one of the suspects and has found it fit to highlight the suspect’s association with a sitting member of the Legislative Assembly, who has no connection whatsoever to the incident except family ties.

To whom much is given, much is expected. The excessive and unabated coverage of this story leaves much to be desired in terms of responsible journalism and one can only hope that greater restraint will in the future prevail and the temptation for sensational and scandalous journalism passionately resisted.

Richard H. Barton Jr.


  1. Mr. Barton Jr,

    I understands your letter, but I understands that there’s no Law against prohibiting the Press from releasing the name of an arrested persons . Then what is illegal about legally identifying a person once they have been arrested ? Are you trying to say that because it is Mr. McLean name that is involved that the Press should have to wait till his son is charged and convicted before he can be Legally identified ? Which might not have happen , if the press didn’t bring it to the Public attention and try to expose some of the corruption that is destroying the Islands .
    NO one is above the Law and shouldn’t be .

  2. Cayman Compass , keep pushing for the progress and development of the case , of the importation of exotic animals into the Cayman islands against the Laws and publicly expose it .

    I think that Mr. Barton Jr, is just trying to intimidate you , and quiet the topic down .
    By the way , what has happened with the illegally imported animals ?

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