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John Massey has served his time in prison

18 May, 2018

John Massey

• I WOULD like to respond to your correspondent Alex Graff’s demand, if I may, that the New Journal issues an apology for the reporting on the release of John Massey, (Your story about the prisoner released after 43 years upset and appalled me, May 10).

It’s clear that this reader’s understanding of reporting is as poor as their understanding of the criminal justice system. John Massey’s release was big news. He is a local man and therefore, for the New Journal, this was a big story.

I saw no “laud and applaud” reportage by Dan Carrier. What I saw was a story of triumph over adversity, and his family’s happiness at John’s freedom – something they have earned after 43 years.

Yes, there is a victim. There will always be a victim. But John Massey carries that burden and in the eyes of the justice system he has served his time.

This story was about his freedom, not an incident that happened 43 years ago. So let us be clear what the story was about before we throw our arms up in offence demanding apologies.

Broadening the scope of our offence to not only the victim’s family but “all victims of crime” is bordering on ridiculous.

The story was well written and covered all the necessary facts. So please don’t ask “how are you expecting your readers to feel about this?”. We can all make up our own minds, thank you.

Is Alex Graff really a firm believer in allowing someone “a chance of a fresh start” when that statement is followed by “How do think your readers might feel with a convicted murderer on the streets?”

Whether we lock people up for rehabilitation or punishment, the great majority will be released at some point (these include serial rapists, paedophiles, multiple murderers and terrorists).

John Massey is nearly 70 years old and has been judged no longer a threat to the public. His chances of committing the index offence he was convicted of in 1975 are zero. So I haven’t lost any sleep since Mr Massey’s release.

I am however increasingly worried about the people carrying knives, guns and bottles of acid. I imagine if you stopped and searched Mr Massey, you’d find a Freedom Pass!

As painful as it must be for the family of Charlie Higgins (and my thoughts go out to them), John Massey has served his time and earnt his freedom.

Well done to New Journal for covering an important local story.



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