Thursday, September 8, 2011

‘Do you agree to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and while you’re at it, try and bump up the ratings’, Tories signal Chav TV

Dear All

There is an interesting debate going the rounds on whether cameras should be allowed in Courts so the public can see justice being done.

Vera Baird QC was the Solicitor General from 2007-2010, and the Labour MP for Redcar from 2001-2010 thinks that the public should get access to this.

Is this a good thing or just voyeurism?

If we want to see how a court operates, then all we have to do is simply walk in the door and sit down.

It is as simple as that, generally court rooms are bare and deserted unless there is a high profile case such as the Tommy Sheridan Case.

Do the public really want what will be Chav TV?

If they had an appetite, they would pack the courts every day would they not?

And do we need another series of painting the less unfortunate of humanity paraded for our viewing pleasures?

The Labour Party did proposed cameras in court in 2004.

The proposal and consultation produced a weak 50/50 response and the plan was subsequently shelved.

TV cameras in court nothing knew as we are accustomed to the UK Supreme Court handing down judgements.

I find that interesting from a technical point of view, how interpretational law is married up to a case.

This makes for interesting television rather than someone paraded as a spectacle, Jeremy Kyle anyone?

Other commentators also flag up that there are rightly no plans to film jurors, witnesses or trials as a whole.

We should all be cautious about ever going that far.

I sat on a jury and it wasn’t pleasant, afterwards I and others had to walk pass the accused who was imprisoned who muttered loudly you have just imprisoned an innocent man.

He wasn’t, he was bang to rights.

The problem of filming is when someone is accused of something subsequently found innocent by the jury.

Regardless mud sticks, first impressions do count and unless people watch the full thing, innocent people could and will be tarred.

They might end up on youtube and youtube is for a terribly wrong time.
I am not convinced that this is a good idea, if people want to see justice being done, then simply walk into court and sit down.

The problem with voyeurism is that it cheapens the judicial process and lowers the standing of the court in the eyes of the public.

Having said that in my youth; I watched teleplays of a series called Crown Court, interesting but fictional; I say we are not ready because I think this ‘good’ idea hasn’t been properly thought-out.

I can see it sliding towards Jeremy Kyle as I type, because, programmes are all about ratings.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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