John Halewood-Dodd column: Stick to what ever feels right for you

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Whistleblowing, or standing up for what you think is right, seems to be very much in the headlines once again with the case of Edward Snowden, the rogue National Security Agency contractor alleged to have been responsible for one of the most serious intelligence leaks in US history, being sought around the globe.

Closer to home the scandal over the alleged “cover up” involving the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust has brought ourarea into the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Without concentrating on the legitimacy of whistleblowing how brave and principled must an individual be to take the decision to go public about an issue that they feel so strongly about that they would be willing to sacrifice their whole way of life, and in extreme circumstances their very existence, to expose it?

Those who do so argue that they are willing to make that sacrifice for the benefit of society at large.

On a lesser scale, we all face situations where we have to determine whether to speak up or decide not to become involved. To do nothing could be seen as condoning the wrongdoing but at times it appears easier not to ‘rock the boat’.

I see this on an almost daily basis with witnesses, both Prosecution and Defence, often being extremely reluctant to give evidence in court. They have to consider how the decision they make impacts on their lives, and that of those involved in the case, as well, at times, on Justice itself.

When asked to advise those faced with this predicament I have a stock answer which is to do what feels right for you. In essence, all that any of us can strive to do is ‘the right thing’.