Court TV is a daft and disgraceful idea….
According to reports, David Cameron is considering allowing certain aspects of sentencing and court proceedings to be televised. This follows a Ministry of Justice statement on Sunday which said:
“We are considering proposals put forward by broadcasters to allow limited recording and transmission from courts in specific circumstances.
It is disingenuous to pretend there has been a mass clamour amoung broadcasters when, in fact, the principal advocate of this change has been Sky TV. Indeed, it was John Ryley, head of Sky News, who wrote an open letter to Justice Secretary, Kenneth Clarke. So, it seems Sky continues to have the most active listening ear of Number 10. So much so in fact that all over considerations seem to outweigh the dash to give it what it wants. Considerations like the integrity of the British system of justice, for example.
Broadcasting proceedings and convictions will damage exponentially the chances of of those convicted for successful rehabilitation. This will most likely make a return to crime the only option they have left upon release. It will fan the flames of vigilantism and it also runs the serious risk of stigmatising people who ultimately prove to be innocent. Many people will watch these proceedings, disregard the verdict and wryly intone ‘there is no smoke without fire’. So, innocents will have their lives ruined and may, rather paradoxically, themselves be forced into a life of crime. It will fundamentally destroy the chance of people having a fair trail before a jury of their peers also and perversely make it all the more likely that a cleaver lawyer will manage to force a mis-trial for the actually guilty.
It reduces the law to a joke and will increase the impression that litigation is the right solution to every problem – in commercialising the law it will destroy its integrity and standing. Anybody who has had the dubious pleasure of actually sitting through an episode of Judge Judy can attest to this. In short, it will destroy and damage so much in the name of a deeply ethically unsound pursuit of profit at the expense of wider society. No wonder this government is so keen on the idea then…..