Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Reporting Restrictions In Grooming Gang Trials Are Vital In The Pursuit Of Justice.
#11
I don't see why it biases the trial. Just make sure the jurors don't watch his livestream.

If anyone on the jury is likely to watch a Tommy Robinson livestream then they aren't fit to be on a jury trying Muslim people in any case. These people will not get a fair trial, whatever this particular racist happens to say.

There are far more important sources of bias in the court system than the off-chance of a juror stumbling on political comments. Things like the effects of previous framing of the issue in general, racial and class prejudice, personal authoritarianism, even bias against a defendant's appearance.

There is a wealth of influence on possible sources of unfairness in cognitive psychology - primacy/recency effect, impact of terminology used, just world fallacy, all kinds of things which aren't controlled for in court cases because the process was designed centuries ago when people had no knowledge of psychology. We know from experiments that authoritarians will tend to convict regardless of evidence, so if we don't want wrongful convictions, they need to be filtered out of the jury pool. In the age of brain scans and big data profiling, it should be easy enough to filter the racists and authoritarians out of the jury pool (and for that matter, the magistrate and judge pool) - but nobody even tries to do it.

We know there is widespread unfairness in outcomes. Black people are more likely than white people to be convicted on the same charges, because jurors or magistrates are racist. I've seen clear-cut insanity cases (such as the girl who thought her victim was a robot) getting convicted. People in the 2011 riots going to jail just for being in the wrong place. Cops constantly getting off for clear-cut abuse while people defending themselves against cops get convicted. Prosecutors rewriting the law on the spot and getting away with it because the defendant is publicly hated (e.g. the Abu Hamza "solicitation to murder" charge). People like the Birmingham Six were convicted based on threadbare evidence because of public prejudice. In a case like the Leeds one, someone could be biased by reading about "Asian grooming gangs" in the press, and wrongly convict on this basis, even if the articles were nothing to do with the actual case they were trying. This kind of thing is well enough documented in the sociology of moral panics: if the prosecution have a narrative which fits with dominant media narratives at the time, it's easy to get wrongful convictions and disproportionate sentences. What some Nazi says on a random Facebook feed is a drop in the ocean. In this context, stupid rules about media coverage are just backdoor excuses for censorship based on outdated beliefs about motivations and influences.

Last I heard it is also illegal to conduct academic research into why actual juries decide the way they do (though there has been a lot of simulated trial research). It is even illegal for jurors to tell the media or the public if a particular jury has reached a verdict for unfair reasons. If the aim is for fair trials, then these kinds of restrictions make no sense. If the aim is to make sure that unfair convictions continue to happen and are not challenged, and that people carry on imagining that legally-expert but sociologically and psychologically illiterate judges or random groups of Joe Bloggs off the street will somehow magically pluck fair judgements from thin air after watching the rhetorical performances of both sides, it makes a lot of sense.

If the problem is that this fascist idiot is calling people rapists when they're only *accused* rapists, that's libel which is a civil not a criminal offence.

What judges are really angry about, is they do not like people standing up to them and not doing as they're told. It's the same mentality as tyrants of every age and a clever political opportunist like Tommy Robinson knows how to play their narrow-mindedness to his advantage.

Unless we ensure that jurors are fair-minded enough people that they'd never be influenced by someone like Tommy Robinson - or for that matter, by the front page of the Sun - and that judges are fair-minded enough to not put their chagrin about not getting their way ahead of proportionality and fairness, then we aren't going to have fair trials full stop.
  


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread:
1 Guest(s)