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Writer, opinionista, essayist, perfumista, picker-up of unconsidered trifles, contributor to all sorts and conditions of publication from the Daily Mail to New Humanist, devoté of Pliny Maior, author of The Chronicles of Bargepole, Big Babies and Lost Worlds, currently working with the great Mike Stoller (of Leiber & Stoller) on a musical about Oscar Wilde. Teach the occasional spot of Tragedy to keep my eye in. Pilot, harpsichordist, cook, photographer, red-hot lover  and self-deluding old goat.

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    Wednesday
    May182011

    Strauss-Kahn guilty, says Mayor of New York

    I've already had my say on how 19th-century novels and the Code Napoléon are to blame for the Strauss-Kahn case, in The First Post.

    Dodo Strauss-Kahn is of course presumed innocent.

    So what about the "perp walk" -- the deliberate process of publicly humiliating those charged with crimes by parading them in front of the media?  How about the special dispensation to allow press photographers into the courtroom?

    It's not about vanity. It's about justice. About prejudicing a jury and tainting the right to a fair trial. You see the pics, you think "Jesus, that guy looks bad. Jesus, he looks shifty. Jesus, his lawyer's short. He must be guilty."  But stick me in the dock, send me on the perp walk, I'll look shifty, I'll look bad, I'll have a short lawyer.

    And so will you.

    But here's where it gets interesting. Reporters asked the Mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, about the perp walk. Yes, it was humiliating, he said, but "if you don't want to do the perp walk, don't do the crime. I don't have a lot of sympathy for that."

    You don't need a degree in Aristotelian Logic (and by sheer chance, I don't have one, so trust me on this) to work out the syllogism.

    1: Dodo was made to do the perp walk
    2: If  you don't want to do the perp walk, don't do the crime
    3: Dodo did the crime.

     There is only one possible exception: the case of a man who wants do the perp walk. But wanting to do the perp walk is a psychological problem, not a crime. So a man who just wants to do the perp walk can't do the perp walk.

    Let's simplify. The Mayor of New York has publicly declared Dominique Strauss-Kahn guilty. At best, if Dodo is judged innocent, Mike Bloomberg is open to an absolute motherfucker of a libel suit, which I'd suggest he brings in England. The libel has after all been published here, in, for example, The Guardian.

    At worst, the Mayor of New York has perverted the course of justice. It may even be -- Gitmo notwithstanding -- that perverting the course of justice is illegal in the United States, which may mean Riker's Island for Bloomberg, too.

    Either way, it stinks.  Dodo is quite possibly a queutard, a French word meaning, roughly "knobhound" or "pricksmith". But for an old dude to still believe his porker is something appealing to women is not yet a crime.

    His accuser has quite properly been (a) listened to and (b) kept anonymous. We can argue about the natural justice of (b) till the cows come home, but (a) is beyond debate in a civilised society.

    The police have, quite properly, arrested the accused and brought him into the criminal justice system for the case to be tried.

    The judge, possibly improperly, has filled her courtroom with cameras and banged up Dodo in Riker's Island, and, equally possibly, doesn't give a damn what we think about that as long as Dodo gets due process.

    And the Mayor's remark may not be surprising, coming from such a glad-handing grandstanding self-regarding wee fellow. But it's a pretty moronic thing to come out with all the same.

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