Why were faces obscured in illegal dumping video?
May 24, 2012 - The image above, and the videotape from which it was taken, caused considerable buzz this week.
Illegal dumping is a major problem everywhere in the province, and the Town of Conception Bay South took matters into its own hands, by planting hidden cameras at a number of illegal dumping sites.
They captured images of a couple of people dumping garbage from the back of a pickup truck. According to a news release from the town, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) has laid charges of illegal dumping against a resident of the town, under Section 16 of the Environmental Protection Act. Apparently, he was getting rid of construction materials.
As one of those people who are offended and angered by illegal dumping, I think this is great news. In fact, we need to make the penalties more severe, so that they are on par with poaching – including confiscation of vehicles used in the crime.
But what struck me about the image above were the obscured faces of the alleged perpetrators.
After all, when the accused do the "perp walk” for their court appearances, identities are revealed and faces shown. Why should this be different?
Or did the Town of CBS obscure the photo themselves, before submitting it for public consumption?
I sent an email to Const. Suzanne FitzGerald, who was talking to this issue last week on behalf of the RNC.
“Until an accused person has an information officially sworn in court and the charges are read into the public record, their name and or identity is not released,” FitzGerald replied. “The same applies to photographs released to the media – the identity is not made public until sworn in court.”
The accused is scheduled to appear in provincial court on Oct. 11, 2012. Presumably, at that point we will get to see his face.
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