When there is a process that has public relevance, it is crucial that the legal defence work together with the Media one to align strategies and narrative. That double defence is crucial to achieve good results.
Last August, Javier Gómez de Liaño, a renowned Spanish lawyer, formerly a very important judge, wrote an article in Spain’s Tier 1 online media El Confidencial highlighting one of the major problems the Spanish justice system suffers from: its slowness. He stressed that “a slow justice is such a serious deficiency that it discredits the entire judicial system.”
In some cases, those who are immerse in court processes that last for years and years without being solved, are exposed to parallel media trials. For an individual or a legal entity, being subject of permanent negative media coverage based on court proceedings raises concerns about its integrity, – businessmen, CEOs, lawyers, politicians… – and the good practices of a company. This shadow of suspicion covers the presumption of innocence and creates a constant reputational damage that is aggravated with every published article.
In Spain, legal processes can take five, eight, ten years… Throughout this time, every milestone of the process serves as an excuse for the Media to publish information. A prosecutor’s report, a judge’s order, statements by the accusation or defendant… These documents are of journalistic relevance, and many get published. Therefore, there is a clear need to manage that information. It is a crisis communication due to an extraordinary situation because of allegedly criminal acts or irregularities of many different kinds. A proper defence for someone under trial requires of lawyers and expert communications advisors to guarantee the defendant its right to have a proper defence. Judges, lawyers, prosecutors, jury… they all read newspapers and watch TV. News do not dictate jurisprudence, but they have the capacity to influence judicial decisions.