Leading Article: Crashed meteor

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NEMESIS, IN the form of arrogance, was Jonathan Aitken's undoing. A gilded youth, followed by fame and fortune, convinced this scion of the Beaverbrook dynasty that he was above the rules that bind the common people. There is still something breathtaking about the words Aitken used to launch his ill-fated libel action, calling for the "sword of truth and the trusty shield of fair play". Ironically, he turned these very weapons against himself when he chose to lie to the court and involve his daughter in his perjury.

Yesterday, this meteor crashed to the ground in spectacular fashion. Few would doubt Aitken richly deserved the jail sentence he received. Many, however, would share our distaste at the witch-burning zeal that has accompanied his downfall. He has been a fool, a hypocrite and a liar - but, like any common criminal, he must be allowed to discharge his sentence and rebuild his shattered life.