Unethical inclusion of story on Fr Dwyer

IT IS with regret that I find it necessary to write to you regarding a very distasteful report in your newspaper on Saturday, November 17.

I have been a subscriber to The Northern Daily Leader for 56 plus years, thinking it to be a respectable paper with sound reporting. I am now in doubt this is the case after reading the front page story “Bid for freedom” by Bevan Shields and your staff.

The inclusion in this article of details about Fr Peter Dwyer can only be described as irresponsible and unethical. It is old news and did not need mentioning again. I fail to see, except for some nefarious reason, why you would even include mention of Fr Dwyer in the article, considering it is now more that 18 months since he was found not guilty of all charges against him.

Why would you want to sully his reputation further by reporting something that can only cause him further harm and distress?

I, and many others, feel that in doing so you have been grossly unfair to Fr Dwyer. Indeed, what you have written displays a paucity of good journalism; something we see far too frequently these days. 

Even in your article we have an example of this, where journalistic courtesy and custom were ignored by your journalists, when they incorrectly and disrespectfully referred to Fr Dwyer as Mr Dwyer.

Finally, I would like to point out that, after an exhaustive investigation of three years, Fr Dwyer proved in a court of law to be innocent of these false accusations against him. Sadly, he is not the first to experience false accusation, and even more sadly, he will not be the last.

We Australians have always considered our country to be the country of a “fair-go”’. Your actions, as editor of this newspaper, have been both unfair to Fr Dwyer and you have let us all down.

It would be too much to expect a public apology to Fr Dwyer from your newspaper.

VALERIE ALEXANDER

TAMWORTH 

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