Trial on Jury?

The trials of Amanda Knox and Dr. Conrad Murray glue us to the media recently – especially television. Televised trials are currently prohibited

The trials of Amanda Knox and Dr. Conrad Murray glue us to the media recently – especially television. Televised trials are currently prohibited in Ireland and The UK, but are not in The USA and recently Italy. A strict boundary does not exist for ‘Trials on Television’ in the US or Italy. Although recently the UK proposed that trials should be allowed to be shown on TV.

But is this a good decision? We all ‘know’ about the Amanda Knox, Dr. Conrad Murray, OJ Simpson and Joanne Woodward trials. I use the term ‘know’ loosely, as what we know is the ‘truth’ the media provides us with. I am not going to determine the innocence or guilt of defendants in this article, but I question if ‘Trial on TV’ is a good idea.

Most judicial systems in Criminal Law are based on being judged by a person of equal legal status, peer. It is the peers, also called the jurors who ultimately decide the fate of defendants.

The Defence, Prosecution and Judges go through a rigorous lengthy schooling system for qualifications in Law. Jurors, however, are not practiced in Law; have years of qualifications or work in the legal system daily like the aforementioned. This is a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity for jurors. (I was selected twice for jury duty, but that is another story altogether). I understand this is the reason that forms the basis of being ‘judged by peers’ as ideally, and hopefully, it is the defendants first time on trial.

Importantly, the ‘TV Republic’ are not party to all the facts the jurors have. Only the jury hears all of the evidence. The production company/station forms its own version of the truth even if ‘live.’ Producers provide their own ‘experts’ to testify their version of the truth, to which the ‘TV Republic’ make their informed decision of the guilt or innocence of the defendant, not to mention most stations are obligated to show ads interrupting ‘live’ feeds therefore distorting the truth.

The jurors psychologically must be under a lot of pressure to reach an informed decision – cases for the Prosecution and Defence alone can be mind-numbing. With the Media and especially cameras introduced into the courtroom, the psychological pressure of making the ‘right’ decision must be unbearable. One, it cannot be underestimated the importance of the informed decision as jurors know their decision forms the life of the defendant. Secondly, the one opportunity that the jurors make will be critiqued by the Media regardless of the outcome of the trial. Therefore, television must have a psychological impact on the juror’s decision.

It appears it is not only the defendants on trial, but possibly also the jurors.

PwC – w = Non-PC

I don’t think the actions of the PwC employees were initially about the feminist agenda per se. It was the manner by which the media reported the actions that really peed me off, and yes, because of this the Feminist agenda was brought to the forefront!

Because PwC fowled up showing pictures, it is more disgraceful to see these pictures posted on websites and other media. As a result, this compounded the story. It is ironic and highly insulting to the women in question and invited a new audience to participate in the foul competition.

No one, men nor women, are a piece of meat, and wonder why pictures of the men involved weren’t shown as they were the guilty parties, not the victims, whose privacy was incidently compromised (this doesn’t happen in a rape trial case). I do feel that these women are forced to ‘laugh at themselves’ in order not to embarrass PwC further. What happened was wrong from the very beginning – from the PwC score sheets onwards. It shouldn’t happen to a woman or a man. I am a man, but one who favours equal rights!

NB I encourage you to read Eleanor Fitzsimon’s post on The Anti-Room, ‘Life in the Testosterone Zone’

The BAI in Action Today

The Limerick Leader reports the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has rejected an appeal of a James Clark that Dara O’Briain blasphemed on The Late Late Show last November regarding a stump at Rathkeale. Clark suggested that O’Briain’s comment was ‘blasphemous, insulting and showed his clear lack of knowledge.’

O’Briain was promoting BBC‘s Three Men in a Boat when he stated: ‘I kept trying to steer us away from things, like they kept on wanting to go to Rathkeale. Do you know what’s in Rathkeale? The Holy Stump, the bit of a tree. I can say this now. It’s a tree. It could look like anything, a bun in a tree. It looks like isobars. I had to keep steering them away from this.’

RTÉ responded to Clark’s statement that ‘most people in Ireland today would be highly sceptical of claims of apparition and would find nothing wrong in such claims being satirised or treated as suitable subject matter for jokes,’ and added no other complaints of this nature were made.

Furthermore, RTÉ added ‘If upsetting one viewer was sufficient to uphold a complaint, many programmes would regularly find themselves in breach. No one was harmed by this gentle and unmalicious joke.’

Clark suggested in his complaint that O’Briain did not know ‘its (the stump’s) importance to Ireland.’ I’m not sure which is more laughable the complaint, or the suggestion that a stump is of religious importance.

In another matter, Tom Dunne today on Newstalk apologized for comments by Nell McCafferty made on air yesterday (11th March 2010) who made personal derogatory remarks about the Mary Harney, the Minister for Health. On a lighter note, Brenstrong, on Twitter, suggested ‘No one should apologise for nellgate. That way, Mary Harney will understand the frustration of no one being responsible.’

The Irish Times e-paper

The Irish Times are offering a free trial of The Irish Times e-Paper which has just been launched.

Users of the medium will be allowed to customize and listen to their paper, download the paper for offline reading, and also create RSS feeds.

Free-trial, of course, means that The IT will be charging for the service which reminds me of the unfortunate demise of the previous incarnation of The IT’s premium based paper. I hope this time it succeeds, although releasing the application during a recession may prove to be the incorrect decision.

Offering Copyright and Editing Services

I recorded something on TV3 on Friday, I thought. 

On the ad break I noticed an advertisement for one show written exactly as follows:

‘2. How to conrol the kids’

Yes, it forgot the ‘t’.  In the space of 2 minutes, TV3 advertised a programme for the following day, as: ‘Tomorrow’s Tuesday, so on the programme we have…’  Both of these had me a bit annoyed.  I think I’m going to offer editing and copyrighting services in future.

The Irish Wins at the Emmy’s

There are two reasons why the McCarthy Report should not be adhered to in relation to cutting funding in the Arts – Brendan Gleeson and Dearbhla Walsh.

Both Gleeson and Walsh won Emmy’s on Sunday night, 20th September, 2009. Gleeson won an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Into The Storm, whilst Walsh was awarded an Emmy for her direction in Little Dorrit. Martin Cullen, the Irish minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism congratulated both stating that ‘Brendan is one of our finest actors and Dearbhla one of our most accomplished directors’. Importantly, he noted that Irish artistic talent garners a positive response internationally. Now if only our politicians can do the same.

Poor RTÉ Sports Coverage?

I posted recently that Naoise Ó’Muirí, a Fine Gael councillor, reads this blog Fine Gael Councillor asks for Athletics Coverage, and read today in The Northside People, a local newspaper, that due to the poor scheduling from RTÉ he wants €20 back from the TV licence he paid.

RTÉ’s response was interesting. A spokeswoman claimed that the company did provide suitable sports coverage on television, including athletics such as the European Championships, Indoor Championships and Irish Championships. The World Championships were adequately covered in the News so as to not warrant its own programme. That is a poor excuse.

I think I could do with €20 so I could do Euromillions tomorrow.

Letter to The Irish Times

I wrote a letter to the Irish Times about my favourite topic (Scott Gant takes on Google, More Google Rants and Is copyright under threat) recently, obviously as I’m posting it here, it wasn’t printed in the IT:

Dear Madam,

I am pleased to see that Scott E. Gant, the copyright lawyer as referred to in Plot thickens in Google’s vast book scan (Irish Times, 20th August 2009), is taking on the might of Google. The Authors Guild of America (AGA) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP) despicably kowtowed to Google’s millions without consideration to the individual author. As Colm Toibín re-iterated Oscar Wilde’s dictum recently about An Bord Snip, a critic knows the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

Allan Adler of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) believes the deal is good for authors and publishers. Has he forgotten bookshops? If this clause is permitted, the AGA and AAP engage in a suicide pact killing the bookshop as part of collateral damage.

As anything online is at its core duplicable, digitisation will allow ‘enterprising’ individuals copy books, simultaneously destroying the careers of authors, publishers and bookshops. This deal will effectively kill the book industry as the Napsters did in the 1990’s to music. Music is still suffering as Eircom recently enforced a three strikes and out policy blocking access to file-sharing websites.

If digitisation of books is permitted, Google must be forced to negotiate with each author individually, as publishers do, not copy books en masse and wait to be sued. Therefore, if there is to be a clause it should be opt-in, not opt out.

Yours etc.,

More large prominent companies, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Amazon, have voiced their displeasure in Google’s antics. It would be interesting to see where this goes next. Best of luck to Scott Gant and company.

Scott Gant takes on Google

I’ve voiced my opinion a few times about this settlement, Is Copyright Under Threat and More Google Rants so I am glad that someone has redressed the issue and by a lawyer, author, and partner at the law firm Boies, Schiller, & Flexner, Scott E. Gant adding a further twist in the tale of the Google Book Settlement.

He is voicing an objection to the settlement urging the court to reject it stating that Google and its partners are trying to ‘ram this settlement through so that millions of copyright holders will have no idea that this is happening’.

The court has set a deadline for briefs of the settlement on the 4th September and a scheduled hearing for early October. Hopefully sense will prevail and Gant’s objection is upheld.