Friday, 22 June 2012

justice on display

i've been watching/reading about the murder trial of scott guy.  it's a bit difficult to avoid it, given that it's regularly one of the leading items of the tv & radio news, and covered on the first 3 pages of the newspapers.

i don't have much to say about the case itself - the court will deal with that.  but the thing that strikes me is how difficult it must be for that family to have all their personal histories displayed to the public, in such excrutiating detail and with so much prominence.  i feel especially for the immediate family of mr guy - his wife, parents, children, siblings.  they have had to suffer losing him from their lives in a most brutal way - something that no-one would choose to happen.  then they have to suffer again as their family is closely and publicly put under the spotlight.  it feels to me like another form of victimisation.

yes, i understand the need for having a public justice system.  i understand that the process of the courts needs to be closely scrutinised, and that justice has to be done & be seen to be done.  i agree these are important issues, and that closed justice systems are just rife for authoritarian abuse.

and yet.  it doesn't seem right that when some terrible thing is done to a much-loved member of your family, that becomes a reason for you to lose your right to privacy.  for the dead person to lose their right to privacy.  for people across the country - in their lounges and in their work places, amongst their own friends, families and colleagues - to be passing judgement on you and your affairs just because the media is giving them constant access to the details of your life, as if it was some kind of soap opera.

i keep thinking there must be a better way to do this, though i can't seem to think of one that both protects the integrity of the justice system while also protecting the integrity of victims and their families.  all i can do is watch the process and feel extremely uncomfortable about it.


Mark Hubbard said...

I agree with your sentiment. For what's it's worth, I've blogged on how I believe criminal cases should be conducted in New Zealand here. And I put this link up in the interests of general discussion.

For a start there should be no cameras in criminal court rooms, and there should be name suppression for everyone involved unless, and until, there is a guilty verdict.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realise that there was a right to privacy in NZ?

Madeleine said...

I agree that it is rotten. I too cannot think of a better way of doing it. Justice must be open.

Unlawful acts generally hurt and wound. The process of seeking justice is not often easy. The one comfort is that in the end having walked the path of seeing justice usually feels better than not walking it because at least you tried, you did all you could to right the wrong best it could be righted, which is not much in this case.