Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some media reports have been irresponsible in their reporting of Quebec double murder case - comparing it to Latimer

I am often surprised how the media is willing to report a double murder as a possible "mercy killing" even before the facts of the case have been properly established.

The prime example is the incredibly sad and disturbing case of Sylvain Guidi (47), who has been charged with first-degree murder in the homicide deaths of his father, Claude Guidi (75) and his mother Denise Cloutier-Guidi (71).

Claude Guidi was a retired Longueuil Quebec police officer.

On Saturday, January 15, 2011, Sylvain Guidi allegedly shot his father and mother in the family home in St-Jean-de-Matha Quebec. Sylvain allegedly used a hunting rifle that was registered in his name.

All the media needed to know in order to spin a defense for Sylvain Guidi was that his defense lawyer, Michel Leclerc, suggested that the case "appears to have involved elements of compassion."

The artice written by Jan Ravensbergen. Ravensbergen emphasized that the case may involve 'elements of compassion' and then he went into a description of the Latimer case.

How does shooting ones parents with a hunting rifle have any comparison to Latimer, who was convicted of second-degree murder for killing his daughter Tracy by gassing her to death with the fumes of his truck.

What bothers me about the Ravensbergen article is how he attempts to create a defense for Sylvain Guidi by superficially describing the health problems of his parents. The description of the parents health problems with the comparison to the Latimer case appears to be his justification for allegedly shooting his parents.

The CBC news coverage was fair even though they emphasized that the deaths may have been for 'compassionate' reasons, they offered other facts.

The CBC report repeated the defense by Guidi's lawyer, that the parents had health issues, but then the CBC stated:
"Leclerc said Guidi has had emotional issues in the past and has undergone psychotherapy."
The CBC report then quoted a neighbour as saying:
(Sylvain) was a good boy. You couldn't ask for a better son.
But then the CBC report stated:
"Guidi was known to police. A few years ago, he was convicted of assaulting a police officer."
The media need to accurately report tragic cases without jumping to conclusions or creating a defense for the alleged killer. By bringing the issue of Latimer into a case that may or may not have anything to do with euthanasia, creates an emotional response to a story that possibly only benefits the media outlet who are seeking readership to sell newspapers or advertising.

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