13 JANUARY 1979, Page 18

The Thorpe case

Sir: I have come rather late to Auberon Waugh's exercise in 'suspended indignation' with reference to Minehead. Waugh's article of 16 December contains the extraordinary statement that concerning the court proceedings `if compassion is to be the dominant emotion, plainly we should not be reporting the event at all.' It is to be hoped that the logic of this statement will escape even your steadier readers.

If compassion is to be in short supply, clearly malice is readily at hand with editorial blessing. Nadir Dinshaw, whose 'integrity was not impugned by the defence', must find the gentle administration of Waugh's journalistic irony a soothing balm on the wounds he has already invited as the result of his trusting, if somewhat naive, nature. The desire of Waugh to have a field day with the one witness who, on cursory evidence, is beyond reproach serves as an example of a wayward and aberrant psychological make-up: Only a dyspeptic and racially intolerant personality such as Waugh's could mock with such artifice the religious upbringing, Third World background and general motives of a 'rumoured' Parsee who 'conveniently' lives in Jersey.

What is Waugh up to? Is the carrion that reluctantly we may have to concede to be somewhere in the underground so distasteful that the fastidious Waugh can only being himself to peck at the fairer game temporarily wandering on the surface? I do not know how one suspends indignation; suspending judgment is easier. I suggest that it is a better option in any case. Norman Hackett 64Crouch Hill, London N8