Letter: Hysteria does not remove the need to prove guilt

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The Independent Online
I CAN think of no greater sorrow than that felt at the death of a young child. The Bulger family might perhaps take some small comfort from the mass of sympathy shown for their personal loss.

However, I have never known a situation where not just angry mobs but the media have already made up their minds that the two 10-year-olds charged with the murder of James Bulger are guilty. This has not yet been proved. Yet in your leader ('The hammer blow to our conscience', 21 February), you draw comparisons with Mary Bell, and use the quote: 'Would she know that killing was a crime?' It is as though the fact that the accused are children means that they have diminished legal rights. If we consider adults worthy of a fair trial then two 10-year-olds deserve no less.

Paul Kelly

London SW19