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Reporter followed protocol

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Dec.15.06

In a television appearance on Saturday and in a press release issued this week, the Commissioner of Police refuted claims made in our front page story of last week, SERIAL RAPIST ON THE LOOSE.

As promised, we conducted an internal investigation and found that our reporter followed protocol for news gathering and verification. On hearing about two recent rapes in Fairhall, the reporter went to the Calliaqua Police Station for information and was provided with the information. During the course of that interview, the police provided other information about “8-10 rapes” over a 90-day period in that area.{{more}}

The Commissioner has denied that these occurred and has reported that there were instead, three cases of rape in the areas quoted in the article over the period in question.

The journalist wrote an accurate report based on the information provided to him. However, we have since learnt that instead of there being “8-10 rapes” there were in fact “8-10 sexual assaults” over the period, of which three resulted in rape.

The police information said that the way that the man swore and the words he used provided compelling information to suggest that one man was responsible. The Commissioner however said that a pattern analysis was conducted but the evidence so far cannot sustain the theory that a single assailant is responsible for two or more of the crimes.

It was never SEARCHLIGHT’S intention to spread fear and to sensationalize the issue as we have been accused by the Commissioner. SEARCHLIGHT has, over the years, been known for fair and responsible journalism and this is a reputation we intend to maintain.

What SEARCHLIGHT and the Commissioner agree on however, is that over an extended period women have been raped and/or sexually attacked in Arnos Vale, Villa, Fountain, and Fairhall areas and to date, no one has been caught.

We endorse the crime prevention advice provided by the police to all women and stand willing and ready to continue to work with the police in the fight against crime and violence in our country.

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