Written by Christopher J. Wilkinson
I for one disagree with a recent innovation of the judicial system. On the surface, it may appear that cameras in court improves the transparency of our legal system. On the contrary, I would argue that such a move turns casual viewers into callous voters, with everyone having a reason to voice their opinion regardless of how wrong it is, becoming their own legal expert much like independence of the Bank of England really meant issuing control of bank regulation and supervision to the bankers themselves. Before 2008, everybody foolishly asked what could go wrong.
We’ve got cameras in the courts recording the outcomes of high-profile crimes, but the severity of a crime is somewhat subjective according to circumstances and state regulations bar the broadcast of proceedings which could provide the audience with much-needed contextual relevance. Who is there to judge what the television viewers should judge? Licensed companies permitted to screen proceedings are BBC News, ITN, Sky News and PA Media; the self-same outlets that sold you the pandemic lie for the past two years are now poisonously vying for your interest in becoming your own stay-at-home juror. It all comes back to corporatism and the state.
Those who feared television cameras in the House of Commons probably had something going for them. Cameras in court could eventually lead to the encouragement of overdramatised performances by barristers, making sweeping gestures as they cross the floor and deepening their tone of voice as though offering a rendition of Macbeth or Hamlet in wig and gown. It’ll make sensationalist newspaper headlines easier for the Murdoch press on a slow news day, but it won’t benefit anyone else. It is a decision that will almost certainly do more harm than good as the television jury sit idly by and watch in their armchair theatres. Occasionally, a ripple might emerge upon the instance of a miscarriage of justice before it fades away again.
Who knows, eventually we might all be casting vote for what sentence a criminal should receive by pressing the red buttons on our remote controls. It’s another symbol of the manic dystopia our ruling class are determined to push and another reason why we should be determined to resist it.