Don't the BBC have lawyers any more? Were they all out at their Christmas do or something? I know he walked into this by giving an interview to the Sunday Mirror, but as I write this Tom Stephens hasn't even been charged.
Now, maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. If he is charged and does stand trial, it'll be up to the jury to decide, and I can't see how the BBC's actions can be viewed as anything but prejudicial. If the police decide to let him go, he's been left to the tender mercies of those maniacs who believe `there's no smoke without fire' is actually part of British legal practice and gives them the right to take the law into their own hands.
Now I read in The Guardian's media section (http://media.guardian.co.uk/broadcast/story/0,,1975315,00.html) that the interview Stephens gave to the BBC was for background purposes only and that he had specifically asked for it not to be broadcast, but the BBC felt the `extraordinary and very rare circumstances' gave them the right to run it anyway. Could those extraordinary and rare circumstances have been a possible scoop interview with a mass murderer?
Whatever, the papers were left with no choice but to run with the story themselves, and the front pages of today's tabloids are not pretty reading.
I don't know whether Tom Stephens, or the other man who was arrested this morning, is guilty or not, but I imagine a lot of people who saw the news last night and heard the interview and read today's papers will already have gone some distance towards making up their minds, although the BBC would argue otherwise.
Incidentally, those journalists who described Stephens as `looking weird' in photographs on his MySpace page really ought to have a longer look at MySpace...