Thursday, June 24, 2010
Two days in Courtroom 54 (June 22 and 23)
.........report from Robin Mathews
Madam Justice MacKenzie was careful to assure the jury that the man in question was in no way connected to the accused or to any counsel for the accused or to any supporters of the accused. And, in fact, justice MacKenzie said, he was the father of one of the Special Prosecutor team and that the fact was without any significance.
The jury filed out. Then the afternoon was filled with procedural wrangling that is scheduled to go on tomorrow - with such certainty that the jury is excused attendance until at least next Monday. Gordon Campbell's Chief of Staff, Martyn Brown, growing old while he waits to finish his examination by counsel, may be getting impatient. He can repeat to himself the great lines of the English poet John Milton: "they also serve who only stand and wait".
[Readers will notice that I say yesterday's discussion without jury is believed by some to be under publication ban. The ban is quite a narrow one - but journalists flee from writing or speaking a word as if their tongues have been plucked out. The key and crux of the matter is that there is a ban of publication "in any document or broadcast or transmission of evidence, submissions, rulings or reasons for judgement given in this proceeding in the absence of the jury". The ban DOES NOT SAY "of every word uttered in this proceeding in the absence of jury". I believe that the argument yesterday (self-evidently) about the man on the sky-train platform was neither "evidence, submission, ruling or reason for judgement given in this proceeding". But all took for granted nothing could be written for the public about it. I believe that is a false view of the matter, and I believe writers on the case are free to give more information to the public about the proceedings than we have been ]
As Robin points out above, it appears that the jury won't be present until next week - but the public can be there and "know" what is happening. It becomes questionable just how and to what degree one's knowledge can be shared or disseminated. As Robin suggests, the Lamestream media tends to use this to justify their preferred approach.
You make a very good point about how the publication ban is being mis-interpreted to produce the "desired" effect. Some would say that that has been its main purpose all along - where it can't completely shut down the flow of information ....it creates both reticence and uncertainty as to what can actually be reported on.
As you note:
"The key and crux of the matter is that there is a ban of publication "in any document or broadcast or transmission of evidence, submissions, rulings or reasons for judgement given in this proceeding in the absence of the jury". The ban DOES NOT SAY "of every word uttered in this proceeding in the absence of jury".
In your quote below I found what the judge deemed to be "without any significance", highly significant in itself:
"Madam Justice MacKenzie was careful to assure the jury that the man in question was in no way connected to the accused or to any counsel for the accused or to any supporters of the accused. And, in fact, justice MacKenzie said, he was the father of one of the Special Prosecutor team and that the fact was without any significance. "
Those lines leave me, too, nonplussed. How can it be of significance, had it been the case, if the man were connected to the Accused, but it not be of significance that the man is connected to one of the prosecutors? What I'm seeing here is "lack of judgment" on the part of Justice Mackenzie, ether that or "lack of neutrality".
And what, exactly, was he doing all these weeks seated within earshot of the Accused? Reporting to his daughter of what was said?
Talk about a fly on the wall....and another in the ointment.
"Waiter, waiter! - There's a fly in my soup!"
"That'll cost extra, sir."
Your story is a variation of my favourite childhood joke. My version went like this:
"Waiter, waiter! What's this fly doing in my soup?"
Waiter peers into the man's soup and replies respectfully: "I believe it's the back-stroke, sir."
And if the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial weren't so serious, I'd be laughing to recognize Madam MacK. doing the back-stroke as often and as fast as she can.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Robin Mathews and to Citizen Journalist from 54 for their observations.
As for those Accredited journalists who are PAID to provide the news, would they even notice the fly? let alone whether it was doing the backstroke, the dog-paddle, the crawl? or why the heck the customer was shouting.
F.w.i.w., I've never heard of a criminal trial (except for the one involving Gillian Gess and an Accused) in which there was any connection whatsoever between the Prosecution and the jurors.
How can Madam MacK. positively report that it was no connection whatever ... and "the fact was without significance". The two jurors thought it had significance. The public probably thinks it has significance. Me, I'd like to know exactly what "father of the Crown counsellor" had to say to the two jurors, and what they said to him.
why? Because even in its sheer stupidity, there has to be some significance in that encounter which was initiated by the "father of the Crown counsellor".
Perhaps, you may have to do that once in awhile due to a full courtroom, but why would you choose to do that on a regular basis?
That kind of illogical behavior is telling in itself.
It has not been revealed whether they discussed the incident with the jury before they reported it to the sheriff or after.
This may not be significant at all...then again, it just may be.
In terms of "impetus".
Did the two jurors report it of their own accord first?
Did they report it after sharing this incident with the other members of the jury?
Were they convinced by the other jury members that they must report it?
Now, you may think this is stretching it but confidence in a jury is equally as important as confidence in a judge.
This Bizarroland trial and its accompanying publication ban has made it necessary that nothing is taken for granted.
E.M. thanks once again, for a unique glimpse of what it feels like to be in the courtroom for the BC Rail Political Corruption Trial.
Lynx, thanks again for your dissection of that Father + Jury encounter.
Citizen Journalist for more of the same.
Robin, of course.
Skookum1, high five!
And special thanks to Koot, for gallantly hanging in there to press the right buttons releasing these comments for publication ... and then contributing a few whacks himself.
And to all who read, ponder, and act upon their feeling that the place to be -- if at all possible -- is in Madam MacKenzie's courtroom, heartfelt thanks. I hope I can join you.
You'd probably laugh if you knew how good I felt, at words like this from CJ54: "This shocking revelation caused the gallery to stir ..." In those few words (so reported), I had the feeling that the citizens of BC (former owners of BC Rail) had made their presence known ... which registered their keen interest in this trial.
Well done, all.