Top criminal law professor’s tweet calling out Daily Mail Jo Cox headline goes viral

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By Katie King on

Tabloid reporting branded ‘disgusting’ by Twitterati


A leading University of Glasgow law professor has gone viral for calling out the Daily Mail for its coverage of the Jo Cox murder story.

This week, neo-Nazi Thomas Mair was convicted of and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of former Batley and Spen MP and mother of two Cox. The vocal Remainer was shot and stabbed multiple times by Mair just days before the EU referendum. While the 52-year-old murderer did not give evidence at trial, it’s been widely reported his actions were politically motivated and were described as an act of terrorism by trial judge Alan Wilkie.

In its coverage of the trial and sentencing, the Mail Online — a pro-Brexit, right-wing media outlet — ran an article yesterday with the headline: ‘Did Neo-Nazi murder Jo over fear he’d lose council house he grew up in? Terrorist thought property could end up being occupied by an immigrant family — and the MP wouldn’t help him’.

It didn’t take long for lawyers, typically a left-wing bunch, to express their dismay.

This was led by Professor James Chalmers, who tweeted a screenshot of the offending headline with the caption “Turns out there really is nothing the Daily Mail can’t blame on immigrants”.

Chalmers — who specialises in criminal law and the law of evidence at the Russell Group university — went viral, his tweet racking up over 2,000 retweets in a matter of hours, rising to almost 5,000 overnight. It also prompted a number of like-minded comments from equally outraged tweeters.

One such comment came from Devereux Chambers tax specialist Jolyon Maugham QC, who used his popular social media account to denounce the controversial headline.

This certainly isn’t the first time the Mail Online has got under the skin of solicitors and barristers alike.

Just this month, lawyers had their heads in their hands once again when the newspaper launched a personal attack on the three judges involved in the Brexit High Court challenge, including one story which referred to Sir Terence Etherton’s sexuality in its headline. Legal commentators described the reporting as “disgraceful” and “low”.