Trial by jury? or by media?

Please people, don’t indulge in convicting someone through trial by media.

A few points about trials. If someone pleads not guilty, then to all intents and purposes they are not guilty until proved otherwise, ie beyond all reasonable doubt and all that.

It is difficult for most people to avoid seeing or reading media reports on deaths, and suspected murders. (Not so much for me as I don’t have a television). But because there has been a death, and there are suspects, does not automatically make someone a murderer. Emotive reports and hard facts are not the same.

Jurors concentrate on what they are told in court not the crap that has been churned out on television or in newpapers. Being a jury member is an incredible responsibility – especially when you could be condemning someone to death. You aren’t there to say – I read about it/saw it on television so therefore this person is guilty. You are there to listen to two sides of an argument and objectively decide which one is stronger, based on the evidence presented.

Casting aspersions on someone’s character, ie proclaiming that a woman is a slut/whore/lives a promiscuous lifestyle however you wish to call it, is not evidence of anything. Unless a woman is being prosecuted for having lots of sex of course.

I wasn’t a juror in the Casey Anthony trial so quite frankly it is not up to me to say whether she was guilty or not. She was found not guilty of murder (and two other charges, although guilty of misleading police) so that should be an end to speculation. Don’t jump in and condemn the people who were chosen to do the job, and came to a unanimous not guilty verdict.

What I will do though, is criticise our society that even makes it acceptable to portray a woman as a pleasure-seeking slut who is therefore, a bad mother. This isn’t to advocate the idea of bad parenting. I am not doing that for a minute.

But I am criticising the stereotypical view that a woman needs to be a chaste – almost virginal – stay-at-home mum. I mean, she has to be bad right, because she is a single mum in the first place? Unpackage the imagery of what women ‘ought’ to be according to society.

Don’t judge women because of their sexual mores and perceived bad parenting. It certainly isn’t relevant in a murder trial based on circumstantial evidence. As others have said, she wasn’t on trial for being a slut and a bad mother. But that was what she was judged for in the media. And when someone has been proved innocent stop saying they are guilty and that you know better.

I remember a discussion about the Guildford Four once in a newspaper office. Or maybe it was the Birmingham Six. Either way, I rashly pointed out that we all knew they were guilty. I got a blasting from a colleague and rightly so. They had been proved innocent in a court of law and that’s what matters.

I wouldn’t want to take my chances of trial by media. For all the flaws in our legal system, a jury trial strives for impartiality and objectivity and we should all be grateful for that. Two interesting links: The first one says what I was trying to say except better. The second is written by a psychiatrist and considers the issue of bi-polarity. One Two

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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3 Responses to Trial by jury? or by media?

  1. excellent but you already knew I was going to agree with you 🙂

    Like

  2. bernie says:

    Thanks for the link, it's appreciated.I had hoped the news would return to more important things, but now I see that Nancy Grace is going to agonize over the verdict and how stupid she thinks the jury is.

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  3. Bernie – I needed to read up on the whole thing before I published. I thought yours was a lucid and well written post. I am glad I don't have a television 🙂

    Like

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