Sunday, July 12, 2009

ZenTiger Prejudicing the trial

The Solicitor General's office is investigating whether to take bloggers to court over commenting over the current trial of Clayton Weatherston. Apparently, jurors are likely to ignore the evidence presented during the trial and turn instead to blogs to get the full story. Really?

Perhaps the problem here is not so much bloggers, but the media who run with every small snippet of information daily. You don't think they are trying to instigate discussion?

I understand the reasoning behind not wanting to prejudice the trial, but Pandora's box was opened long ago, and we need to be very careful how far we go in stamping out the right to express an opinion publicly. Much of what is being discussed is only what the media are reporting - and the jurors are likely to consider what they see and hear first hand to be far more relevant. I thought jurors are instructed not to discuss the trial, read news stories or do their own "research" on the internet. Easier to manage the jurors than the rest of the public, surely?

In any event, I shall refrain from speaking further about this trial until the verdict is delivered.

But lets go down that path for just a moment. I wonder if we can set the Law Commission on another public trial:

The Solicitor General's office is investigating whether journalists, left wing bloggers, government departments, Ministers of Parliament and political lobby groups such as Barnardos, are prejudicing the August referendum on smacking.

"When 300,000 plus people democratically exercise their right to call a referendum asking if a smack should be a criminal offence, it is extremely prejudicial for others to seek to divert democracy by calling for the referendum to be cancelled, or to suggest the question is confusing on the basis hitting a child with a lump of concrete is the same as a smack.

Equally, it is dishonest to say that beating a child to the point of hospitalization under the previous law is legal, as if that level of force would be considered "reasonable" by 12 good people (actually, 11 out of 12 is all that is required from July 2007).

In short, all such commentary is extremely prejudicial to having a fair referendum as it is total bollocks.

We'll be locking all these people up for showing contempt of the democratic process."


Related Link: Blogs under scrutiny

Hat tip: Keeping Stock - Weatherston Trial

6 comment(s):

Anonymous said...


Seeing as you mentioned the dread S59 Zen (even if satirically), any chance of that post on the number of successful uses of old S59? Or are you holding it back as a killer post for when the referendum comes out in a week or two?

Inventory2 said...

Sensible approach ZT - in light of the S-G's concerns, we have done likewise. We'd like to think that we had that much influence, but we're a whole lot more pragmatic than that!

ZenTiger said...

Annoying, but Clayton's lawyers will be looking at every angle to get their client off. So in the event they manage to somewhere stumble across this blog with it's massive readership of .000075% of NZ, I've unpublished my Clayton Weatherston post for the time being.

Leonidas said...

Fairy 'nff... tis your blog.
Trust it will be all guns blazing when we have a decision?.

ZenTiger said...

Yes, I'm willing to have a stab at it, given the trial has suitably provoked my interest. In the mean time, we'll just have to snip at the edges.

Leonidas said...

Don't dull your blade.

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