Friday, January 12, 2007

 

Cameras in Canada's courtrooms? So the public can see the Justice, the accused, the lawyers, and hear the evidence? Good idea!

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Just think how determined people have to be, before they can find out just the date, the place, the court, the courtroom, and the time of day when a specific trial or even a specific pre-trial hearing is going to take place.

You have to wonder: should it be this challenging? I don't think so.

"The day is going to come where we have cameras in the courtrooms observing almost everything that is done in our justice system," said the Ontario Attorney General, Michael Bryant, recently. O speed the day!

I can't think of anything healthier for the Province of British Columbia, than to feel that we'll be made fully aware of each piece of evidence presented -- or not presented -- at the trial of Her Majesty the Queen vs. Udhe Basi, Bob Virk, and Aneal Basi. No more scrabbling through the pages of the Vancouver Sun. No more thinking the story might show up tomorrow ... only it doesn't. With cameras, we'd be right there in the courtroom.

And why shouldn't we be? When they say "Her Majesty the Queen" ... that's fancy talk for us, you and me. For the people of this country. So we should be able to see and hear and consider every word that's spoken in evidence surrounding the charges concerning our railway. The heck with those wonky artists' renditions of the accused. Let us see them, hear them. The Supreme Court justice too. And the lawyers. Allow us the courtesy of making up our own minds whether justice was done.

So far as I know -- from having made a note of it at the last pre-trial conference, but not confirmed -- the next Basi, Virk, Basi pre-trial conference will take place at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Monday 15 January 2007.

A wise person has told me not to expect a trial date to be agreed upon quite yet. But that's exactly what I do hope for. You too, I bet.
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Comments:
I,too, would like to beieve the courts are fair and un biased, they are not.
I offer this distant related case as an example of BC Justice

http://sisis.nativeweb.org/clark/scchoax.html

Cram concluded: "the alleged corruption in the Judicial system in British Columbia runs deep and is so flagrant that it must be investigated by an impartial inquiry panel from outside of BC."

A Supplemental Affidavit to the Sept. 12, 1995, appeal of this controversial case charges:
"the Attorney General is arguing in affidavit form that, even if the Indians as alleged by Xsgogimlahxa's were defrauded by their lawyers into relinquishing their Indian jurisdiction by attorning to the jurisdiction of the non-native domestic court system, now those Indians, or at least some of them, should be stopped from exposing the fraud in which the lawyers and the judges are the historic accomplices. Such an argument is base, corrupt and inadmissable...the Attorney General of BC argues that 'there is no connection between the RCMP at Gustafsen Lake and the main [Delgamuukw] action.' That allegation is chicanery in aid of treason, fraud and genocide. It is made, not for the lawful purpose of upholding the rule of law, but rather for the illegal purpose of evading the law that exposes the ongoing crimes in progress of the Canadian legal establishment, its lawyers, judges, police and underlings. The constitution is simple, the evasion of it complex....the duty of the Supreme Court is to prefer the public's interest in the whole truth as the basis for the rule of law, over the conflicting interest of the legal establishment in concealing and continuing its own crimes."
 
I,too, would like to beieve the courts are fair and un biased, they are not.
I offer this distant related case as an example of BC Justice

http://sisis.nativeweb.org/clark/scchoax.html

Cram concluded: "the alleged corruption in the Judicial system in British Columbia runs deep and is so flagrant that it must be investigated by an impartial inquiry panel from outside of BC."

A Supplemental Affidavit to the Sept. 12, 1995, appeal of this controversial case charges:
"the Attorney General is arguing in affidavit form that, even if the Indians as alleged by Xsgogimlahxa's were defrauded by their lawyers into relinquishing their Indian jurisdiction by attorning to the jurisdiction of the non-native domestic court system, now those Indians, or at least some of them, should be stopped from exposing the fraud in which the lawyers and the judges are the historic accomplices. Such an argument is base, corrupt and inadmissable...the Attorney General of BC argues that 'there is no connection between the RCMP at Gustafsen Lake and the main [Delgamuukw] action.' That allegation is chicanery in aid of treason, fraud and genocide. It is made, not for the lawful purpose of upholding the rule of law, but rather for the illegal purpose of evading the law that exposes the ongoing crimes in progress of the Canadian legal establishment, its lawyers, judges, police and underlings. The constitution is simple, the evasion of it complex....the duty of the Supreme Court is to prefer the public's interest in the whole truth as the basis for the rule of law, over the conflicting interest of the legal establishment in concealing and continuing its own crimes."
 
As the media become more and more convinced that the only way to stimulate readership is to appeal to the baser aspects of human relationship they might want to get into the 'court broadcast' business that has so soured me on "American Justice" since the OJ trial.

As long as court broadcasts are just the trial, no ads, no commentary and no idiots like Nancy Grace, I'd be all in favour. You could put them on the Legislature Channel in BC. It's not being used for anything worthwhile at the moment anyway.

It might actually stimulate some 'real' discussion amoung thinking adults about what is actually happening in the courts - if anything.
 
*You could put them on the Legislature Channel in BC. It's not being used for anything worthwhile at the moment anyway.

It might actually stimulate some 'real' discussion amoung thinking adults about what is actually happening in the courts - if anything.*


Most austute
 
The costs around courts would increase a whole lot All court decisions are on the net and are free for those who go looking for them, And unfortuantly there was no fall sitting because the present premier decided to change his mind and not have the session. And as an aside, let us remind ourself it was the NDP , years ago under Barrett that got Hansard recorded for the tax payers and not lomg after television appeared for thoise who wish to follow the events.
 
Having all judicial written 'decisions' available on one or another of the official court websites provided by the justice system is a non sequitur to this discussion. It is the day to day 'record' of the actual activities within the court room itself - the pith and substance so to speak - all of which are public except in a very few cases - which it would be interesting to permit citizens on a province wide basis to monitor for themselves. There is no doubt that, given the number of courtrooms and venues in which hearings occur consecutively, broadcasting ALL proceedings is out of the question.

On the other hand (and I agree that Dave Barrett's contribution with respect to Hansard is not trivial) I think a strong case can be made for live broadcast of SOME court proceedings in which the public interest is an important factor. Moreover, I doubt that cost would be a severe limiting factor. At the moment, we already have various bodies recording and broadcasting the rinky-dink proceedings of many civic bodies in major centres in this province with no noticeable ill-effect on civic finances.

The key is that any broadcast of this type must not be edited and would have to reflect the actual goings on in the court and not the spun, redacted qualified and often just plain untrue nonsense that the papers and other media give us currently in what passes for court ‘reporting’. In those cases, I'd hasten to add, where they deign to give us anything at all.

The Basi and Virk (BCRail) trial would be an excellent place to start. Where else can you find the interwoven threads of true public interest, legislative and democratic principle, corporate power, greed, money and political collusion?
 
I have to agree with another of the anonymice above here. The written 'decision' of a justice, created - often by a clerk - carefully pruned and considered, edited and organized into the usual judicial record is written for precedent and posterity and, at least partly, as a method of judicial life support if a case should go to appeal. It is the actual 'proceedings' that the citizenry ought to have a 'right' to witness on a broader basis than they currently do.

Were proper and diligent court reporting still a function of decent journalism - it might not be so. Certainly the Picton trial will get coverage enough - other important hearings, such things as those concerned with a certain accused criminal with high connections named Saxena for example, not so much....
 
Valuable comments have been made here today, for which all deserve sincere thanks. I especially value this:

"The key is that any broadcast of this type must not be edited and would have to reflect the actual goings on in the court and not the spun, redacted, qualified and often just plain untrue nonsense that the papers and other media give us currently in what passes for court ‘reporting’. In those cases, I'd hasten to add, where they deign to give us anything at all.

"The Basi and Virk (BCRail) trial would be an excellent place to start. Where else can you find the interwoven threads of true public interest, legislative and democratic principle, corporate power, greed, money and political collusion?"


Excellent ideas.
 
http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Essays/BluePete/Lawyers.htm

worth the read
 
One wonders just how long the public is willing to sit in front of a TV coverage minute by minute of cases? or are we to believe it would be only some cases/ if that is the case we would be allowing the media to pick and choose which ones they will follow. I would hazard a guess that few people spend an hour a day watching Hansard. But more probrably read the debates sometime later.Saome folks might take the time to watch the Basi groups trial, but unlike US TV shows, they don't finish in one hour. Even the OJ Simpson trial started off like gangbusters and the watchers on line petered out as the lawyers tried to outshine each other.
 
That's not my recollection of the OJ case on CNN. In fact, I think it was that case which created all the buzz about court TV and such personality pathologies as Nancy Grace and Larry King.

Who said anything about allowing the media to pick and choose? Certainly not me. Putting some court cases on TV should have nothing to do with the media but should be done more or less following the model of the Legislature Channel. Deciding which cases should be broadcast would require some thought but considering the educational value of having such a resource available I doubt making those choices independently would be a big problem.

I could care less if the people who prefer to watch Oprah and Dr Phil forego watching court cases on Television. No one forces anyone to attend in the public galleries at the Court House either.

The opportunity for those who are interested and concerned ought to be available. What people do with it is up to them.
 
Anon, you're not helping. Ranchers, trainmen, shopkeepers, teachers, etc. can't possibly "sit in front of the TV minute by minute" watching every case. Don't be silly.

Where the trial is of widespread interest, however, the citizens should have the option to record the court proceedings to watch them when convenient -- even with a group, for further discussion. In the case of BC Rail, this could have a very positive effect on public awareness. And why shouldn't we be in on the proceedings?

Even for those who live in Vancouver, it's a major challenge to think of traveling downtown on a daily basis, and waiting in line to be assigned (or refused) a seat in the courtroom.

Showing the proceedings could be extremely informative in classrooms. In boardrooms. In airports, hospitals, waiting rooms, and wherever there's a TV set.

I should think that Basi, Virk, and Basi would welcome the opportunity to have their testimony heard accurately, just as spoken, throughout the province.

Please note, Anon: the media never (thank god) gets to decide which trials get televised and which trials it (and the media's corporate masters) would like to see suppressed. It's the presiding judge (until legislation sets the general rules) who will make those decisions.

If you Google "Cameras in B.C. Supreme Courts" you'll see that there have already been efforts to bring the courtrooms out into the open. A good trend, don't you think?
 
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