Tom Percy 11 February 2018:
I know the rate of crime in Perth in increasing beyond anything we have ever experienced before, but has it reached the stage where no one really cares any more?
There was a murder trial in the Supreme Court this week, which from start to finish did not attract a single column inch in the press, no mention on radio, TV or in any online news service.
There was no suppression order in place and a couple of journalists even turned up on the first day before being seduced off to other courts offering more interesting fare.
The accused, who was subsequently acquitted by the jury, was happy that the case received no exposure in the media, although it had done when he was arrested.
Already having suffered a vigilante attack in jail while awaiting trial (it took 21 months for the system to bring him to trial) he was more than content that his release went totally unreported.
In the days when I first started in the practice of law, there were lucky to be a dozen homicides a year in WA. Every one of them was front page at some stage.
These days, you rarely hear about the homicide trial unless it involves someone prominent or is accompanied by bizarre facts or has some sexual, drug or deviant aspect to it.
The sort of a case where a domestic incident goes horribly wrong and results in one of the parties’ death is unlikely to receive any level of exposure unless someone involved is particularly well known or associated with some who is.
Going back even further, to the time before I was in practice, murder trials were big events drawing full galleries. It is a reflection on modern times that other than for criminal trials which have become prominent in their own right, the galleries these days are empty.
It is an unfortunate reality that the public (and the media to an extent) these days seems to take a far greater interest in celebrity buffoonery than in someone losing their life.
And you can’t blame the press. They are highly attuned to what people want to read, and they give it to them. If there was any significant level of interest in domestic homicides they would generally feature more prominently than they do.
We have become to a broad extent immune to the culture of crime that surrounds us, and it has begun to manifest itself through many aspects of our daily life.
Much of what was once considered horrific and tragic is often now mainstream and mundane.
I can’t help but wish for the return of the days when homicide, any homicide, was so unusual as to warrant some degree of prominence in the spectrum of things that the public felt they needed to be aware of, and the press saw it worthy of reporting.