Leading article: A question of privacy

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The Independent Online

The fact that Chris Langham was questioned by Kent police 18 days ago as part of an "internet-related" criminal investigation - a thinly veiled reference to the alleged downloading of child pornography - should never have reached the public domain. Although the actor was not charged, this incident was splashed over the front page of a national newspaper yesterday.

The question is how this information came out. It is unlikely to be a coincidence that it emerged in the same week that Mr Langham won the prize for best actor at the British Comedy Awards. As so often in these cases, suspicion inevitably falls on the police for tipping off the media. Even if they were not a source, Kent police still provided enough information when questioned to confirm Mr Langham's identity.

Such is the hysteria surrounding paedophilia that the police have no business confirming or denying anything to do with such investigations.