TRUE OPINION: Senator Derry Hinch sees himself as a crusader for victims of sexual violence. But is his so-called advocacy really about victims and their families, or more to do with his own ego? Tim Kent on why the “Human Headline” is well past his used-by date.
“Jesus wept. Shades of Jill Meagher,” Senator Derryn Hinch banged out on his phone’s keyboard over Twitter mid-last month and into eventual social media infamy.
No arrests had yet been made at the time of Hinch’s tweet over the death of Ms Aiia Maasarwe, a young holidaying Palestinian student, whose body was found by window washers in the scrub near Polaris shopping centre in Bundoora at 7 am on Wednesday, January 16.
The alleged offender – who Hinch erroneously and alarmingly claimed was a “known sex offender” – had not been apprehended when the “Human Headline” then went one step further and tweeted the grisly details of this poor young woman’s death, allegedly supplied to him via a police source.
He ended his tweet with, “What has this town become?”
The reactions on social media were immediately scathing.
People were quick to slam Hinch as insensitive, disrespectful, appalling and inappropriate.
“Your willingness to exploit any situation is breathtakingly disgraceful. Shame on you Hinch,” one tweeted.
Another added: “Think of her family Derryn you may want people to know but they might not want us to know the details of what happened to their girl. It’s beyond horrible but your blatant disregard of their feelings make its even worse. Shame.”
Another tweeted accusing Hinch of using the tragedy to try and make a political point.
“Surely we can all just rise above the politics when a horrific and tragic event like another murder of a young woman occurs,” the person wrote.
I would take it one step further Hinch was not just being political.
He was being narcissistic self-serving Hinch.
Many called on Senator Hinch to delete the tweet.
“Aiia Maasarwe’s family deserves better than this. If you have any respect for Aiia please delete this tweet and apologise to those who loved her,” one woman commented.
An unrepentant Hinch soon responded: “To all the do-gooder Tweeters attacking me for telling the gruesome truth about the Bundoora rape/ murder. This brute is still out there. My tweet was for the memory of Jill Meagher and Eurydice Dixon”.
His later tweet sparked a war of words from a surprising respondent, departing federal senator David Leyonhjelm who tweeted.
“Except you voted against giving women like these the means to protect themselves. Do you have any principles at all,” Senator Leyonhjelm posted.
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Out there in ‘La La Land’ there are still many people who revere Derryn Hinch. Much of it lies on the back end of perceived heroism in his divulging names of alleged child sexual abuse perpetrators, and, of course throwing his body and reputation on the line in regards to his contempt of court actions and subsequent conviction.
But what people largely fail to realize is that Hinch has only ever worked for Hinch.
The “Human Headline”, it’s another self serving love story for the ages.
You see Hinch in discussing matters due before the courts jeopardized months, sometimes years of painstaking and complex evidence gathering by the Police and other sources to bring these monsters to justice.
Above all, he betrayed the most important people, the victims, their loved ones and families.
Senator Hinch has previously been in trouble with the legal system on numerous occasions for contempt of court.
He spent 50 days in prison in 2014 for breaching a suppression order by revealing details of the criminal history of Ms Meagher’s killer, Adrian Ernest Bayley.
He was given the option of a $100,000 fine instead, which he chose not to pay “on principle”.
Senator Hinch responded to last month’s backlash stubbornly, if not arrogantly. He has refused to make any apologies for his comments, which remain online.
Sex crimes are harrowing cases for all concerned, and by placing them at risk of being thrown out of court and the allege offender/offenders going free Hinch displayed a scant disregard for the victims, their families, the investigators and the public safety.
His call for a public national register for offenders does have some possible merit, but Hinch has yet to convince me that he is in political life in an effort to legitimately move to a more equitable and just Australia.
Hinch is always working for Hinch. Not the victims, the families, not anybody else. It was Hinch and his narcissistic pursuit of public adulation that was the driving force behind his actions.
It is no secret just what I personally think of sex offenders and murderers, as well as child sexual abusers who commit heinous and evil crimes against our most vulnerable children.
I stand joined in the lengthy queue of those calling for those responsible for these repugnant crimes to be punished with the maximum penalties possible under current law.
The “Human Headline” reached a new low however when he tweeted the horrific details of the murder of young Israeli woman Aiia Maasarwe, the details of which only the police knew. In electing to publicly share this learned piece of information, Hinch completely disrespected this young woman and her family; only offering the trite and self-serving excuse of doing so because he was standing for public protection and past victims of similar crimes.
His actions have ignited the similar rage from the public that ensued after Rupert Murdoch’s now-defunct UK publication News Of The World had been found to have hacked into the cell phone of young deceased murder victim Milly Dowler. The hacks at News Corp and their buddies had done so prior to the apprehension of her killer thus clearing her message inbox giving her family and loved ones false hope she was still alive.
The scant disregard for the suffering of Ms Maasarwe’s family shown by Hinch is equally abhorrent.
We will see whether the defence team of the accused, 20-year-old Codey Hermann, attempts to use Hinch’s tweet as a tool for arguing lack of fairness in the lead up to his arrest and or what affect it may exert on the trial proceedings.
If it is, you can thank the “Human Headline” for that.