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A Court of Public Sessions

I hereby propose that we, the people, institute on the internet via social media a new principle in the idea of Trial by Public. In short an online Court of Public Sessions … where a group or corporation or political party be assigned a generic nickname (to by-pass litigation) like for instance; The MSM (mainstream media) … or The Right-wing Govt’ … or The Banking Sector … or The Dog F#cker … or Planet Janet etc, and they be accused, charged, put on trial in a Public Court and evidence for and against taken directly off internet archives be placed open to you-us-we; The Public … A known legal or judicial person on the bench to control proceedings. And let the process of Public Judgement be done.

From Wikipedia, The Open Court Principle:

“The open court principle requires that court proceedings presumptively be open and accessible to the public and to the media.

In contrast, in camera describes court proceedings where the public and press are not allowed to observe the procedure or process.

Purpose

The virtues of openness were discussed by the Supreme Court of Canada in A.G. Nova Scotia v. MacIntyre which quoted eighteenth-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham:

In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing. Only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks applicable to judicial injustice operate. Where there is no publicity there is no justice. Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity. It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.

As noted by the Supreme Court of Canada, the open court principle enhances the public’s confidence in the justice system:

Public access to the courts guarantees the integrity of judicial processes by demonstrating “that justice is administered in a non-arbitrary manner, according to the rule of law”. Openness is necessary to maintain the independence and impartiality of courts. It is integral to public confidence in the justice system and the public’s understanding of the administration of justice. Moreover, openness is a principal component of the legitimacy of the judicial process and why the parties and the public at large abide by the decisions of courts.

The open court principle is linked to the freedom of expression and freedom of the press which include the right of the public to receive information. The press plays a vital role as the conduit through which the public receives information regarding the operation of public institutions.”

Seeing as how there appears to be little or no oversight from the Fourth Estate (the mainstream media) or any capability of the judiciary or the Governor General to act to stall the apparently reckless rampage by this right-wing vandalism of our democracy and governance, I say that perhaps it is time the public took matters into its own hands and called to order its own Court of Public Trials and dragged those obvious criminals into the dock and make them plead their case before a “Public Beak” and face the judgement of the people for their delinquency!

There are many legal people on social media who may want to be a part of such raucus proceedings … indeed, it would be great if we could inject that touch of legalese into the process..and even better it would be if we could attract a real retired “beak” to sit “on the bench” to oversee the court proceedings.

Sure it will be a “Star Chamber” or a “Kangaroo Court” and an effing wild one at that with no holds barred! It is the very idea of dragging the bastards into the Public Square and making them plead their case … even if “in absentia” … we will use information and their own quoted words directly off their own interviews or articles from the internet … it is all out there! And their case will be held to public judgement “beneath the shadow of the guillotine”!

Perhaps if it got big enough to attract enough “views” and “hits”, a individual web-page replete with courthouse scene and side-panels for witness statements and “anonymous information drops” etc could be set up … turning it into a semi-legitimate public trial mechanism where the results could be sent to the appropriate authorities for follow-up proceedings.

I’d like to see the MSM brought to the bench, with reference to “Faux News” and “Aunty” being accused of deliberate disinformation and avoidance of reporting on the scurrilous activities of “one of the New England candidates” in the recent by-elections and how their actions betrayed and distorted the moral and ethical proprieties necessary to democratic governance … as an example.

I’d also like to see “certain political parties in a position of power” using public funds for their own political electioneering by bribing and corrupting voters in certain by-elections to distort the moral and ethical proprieties necessary etc, etc.

I can visualise the court’s proceedings being promoted and reported on in Twitter and Facebook and other instant delivery media to attract attention to the site. It could be a bloody good thing! And to finish with a quote from that most wise advocate, Clarence Darrow:

“The audience that storms the box-office of the theater to gain entrance to a sensational show is small and sleepy compared with the throng that crashes the courthouse door when something concerning real life and death is to be laid bare to the public.
Everyone knows that the best portrayals of life are tame and sickly when matched with the realities. For this reason, the sophisticated Romans were wont to gather at the Colosseum to feast their eyes on fountains of real blood and await breathlessly the final thrust. The courtroom is a modern arena in which the greatest thrills follow closely on each other. If the combat concerns human life, it presents an atmosphere and setting not unlike those cruel and bloody scenes of ancient Rome.” (Clarence Darrow: “How to pick a jury”).

The court is now in session!


35 comments

  1. james mason

    Fantastic idea .. Lawyers Guns and Money, was a radio show some years ago and bordered on what you are espousing here Joseph. Whilst it didn’t have much impact on society as mirth was their main concern with a sprinkling of legal realism via Lawyers, Barristers and the occasional ‘Beak’ made for an informed and interesting show.
    To do what you suggest, particularly how we have been ‘primed’ by social media nowadays, could in fact be a precursor to something bigger .. ie. maybe politicians, organisations and businesses could be brought to task when publicly caught out, ‘doing the wrong thing’.
    Weekly, monthly or yearly after much ‘debate there could be an ‘online vote’ .. Go for it, if nothing else we, the public, get to vent our spleens about political issues of lies, deception, PR and mass hoodwinking .. I’m with you ..

  2. Ken

    This is simply an abhorrent idea. Trial by media is undermining our democracy because pressure groups will have to much of an effect.

    Our justice system is fact based using knowledgeable legal minds to come to a reasoned outcome. Under our constitution we a separation between the politicial and Legal system using judges / juries.

    Citizen social media participitents are trying to be the journalist, the accusers & trial / jury. This goes completely against our constitution & the idea of being innocent before being proved innocent or guilty using facts not rhetoric.

  3. Joseph Carli

    Yes but ken..it seems those “untouchables” never get to be touched and only the weak, the vulnerable and the poor get dragged through the mud and grime of accusation by the gross while the big fish just swim away…no ..screw them..drag the bastards kicking and screaming by the neck and throw them in the metaphorical dock!
    Try the bastards in the public court!

  4. Rob

    Ken, isn’t trial by media the preferred method of the Right. Bolt Albrectson Devine Panahi, the NSW shock jocks A Current Affair. They are all members of the elitist Star Chamber. Howard had his dog whistle, passed th thing on and others have tried to replicate his tunes. Dutton. Special agent no less and his efforts in the media of late. Morrison and his bold pronouncements. Trial by media, trial by murdoch and his media lackeys.

  5. Joseph Carli

    Anyway..the bastards lie like pigs in shite when they go on the tele’..and are even fed dixers by the interviewer..so they should have no trouble defending themselves in a public forum.

  6. Julie Grint

    Love the idea Joseph. Do you think we should have a panel of three judges as in the French legal system or a single judge with a jury of 12 citizens as in the British system that we have inherited? Who would you nominate as the eminent judge or judges to sit in the Court of Public Opinion? I for one would love to see Professor Gillian Triggs, former Solicitor general Justin Gleeson and Geoffrey Robertson QC grill these white collar criminals.

  7. diannaart

    Pigs are completely open and honest about wallowing in shit – unlike our leaders, media and wannabes. Should not Q&A have once performed the service of a public forum?… forgot… the selectively appointed Michelle Guthrie (and all previous LNP stooges)… seems harsh on the surviving employees of Auntie – can you even begin to imagine the level of morale there?

    Joe, I endorse the concept, however the development and discharge of a public forum, very difficult to remain free of “vested” interests and other parasites.

  8. Joseph Carli

    diannaart..I would see such a public court as a riot of accusation and degradation of those bastards of the right-wing..nothing either fair and square about it..There are two sides to democracy and at the moment, we are only getting the “unfair” side..time to set matters to right and sink the boot in!…
    Some seem to think democracy is a right that is granted to those most warm and fuzzy…on the contrary..it is brutal and is only won through hard fighting..at the moment, it is being stolen away by successive right-wing governments from all those who sacrificed their lives to secure it for the majority in two world wars..citizens and soldiers…millions of them..it’s going to take some dirty fighting to get it back..we have got to win it back from the likes of Dutton, Abbott, Bernardi, Howard et al…the dirtiest fighters in the business…they are not going to give up their positions easy..then there’s the sleazy ones like Turnbull, Frydenberg, Pyne…they don’t like to get their hands dirty, but they know plenty who will..
    We’re not going to get this country back by saying ;”please”.

  9. Brad Golding

    I’m in! A bloody good idea!!!

  10. diannaart

    I never suggested just “saying “please”. But don’t let that stop you from making assumptions … they can at least be entertaining, if lacking relevance.

    Nor does outright aggression work – particularly not for those already at a disadvantage – we need to play much smarter than bellowing about the size of our shiny red buttons.

  11. Joseph Carli

    I never suggested you did!

  12. Phil

    Great idea Joe. There is absolutely no point in playing by the ‘rules’ of fairness and basic decency when dealing with the political right. The game is rigged, always has been and always will be if history teaches us anything. But that doesn’t stop the people from playing the game by their own rules. Fire with fire. The authoritarian right demands subservience, acquiescence, tug-the-forelock – and when it has achieved that it turns the screws harder because the authoritarian lust is never satiated.

    The public trials idea seems as likely as not to transmit a sense of power where currently there is a sense of powerlessness felt by ordinary people and it is crippling the public spirit.

    Power will not take lightly to mockery aimed squarely at it by way of public trials. But public mockery is a powerful weapon to unsettle and destabilise the grip of authoritarian right.

    Its clear that our representative political system is broken and how the conservative right in particular loves it like that. So, we have to start representing ourselves and set the rules for our own game – public trials sound like a great idea.

  13. Joseph Carli

    Take on the MSM first..commentator by commentator and rip them to pieces!

    Start with ; “A” and work through to at least ; “U”.

  14. Simon

    Trial by public opinion is not an ideal way of dispensing justice, but at least it will be beyond the manipulations of the ruling party unlike the current situation. Peter Slipper had his life ruined over a cab fare while Helicopter Bronwyn and Footy Finals Julie get to rort travels allowances with inpunity.
    Better solution is an independant Federal ICAC.

  15. diannaart

    Joe

    And yet I felt you did when you replied to my comments:

    We’re not going to get this country back by saying ;”please”.

    Were you replying to someone else? If so, I apologise for the misunderstanding.

    Now, are you interested in a conversation or do you believe your role here is solely that of a teacher? – I know you have claimed such a role in other posts and I would like, therefore, some clarification.

  16. Joseph Carli

    Teacher..like ; “That’ll learn ’em!”… “are you interested in a conversation…” …like a “chat-up”?…sure..but I have to tell you ; I’m taken!

  17. diannaart

    Simon

    I am equally concerned at keeping the public forum honest, which is what I wanted to discuss when I posted earlier:

    however the development and discharge of a public forum, very difficult to remain free of “vested” interests and other parasites

    Too often investigative processes become corrupted, and while we, the people, desperately need a system to ensure real honesty and truth as well as governance in our best interests from our elected officials, we see too often hard work such as the Uluru Statement dismissed completely out of hand by the very people who needed to consider such work.

    Perhaps Joe could suggest some methods to retain the intent of a public court.

  18. Joseph Carli

    Simon..also we have to remember that those three LNP ministers : Hunt, Tudge and Sukkar were going to be charged with contempt of court and that would have brought the LNP govt’ down…so they were given the option to apologise…Hey?..not a bad option , eh?..A little “sorry sir” and they get let off…there was no option from the high court for Whitlam!…None for Slipper or Thomson…none for Norm Gallagher when he got three months hard…Hey?.. there would’ve been none for Gillard or Shorten if they could have pinned a charge on them…NONE!!…And you just know there would’ve been a flurry of first-name phone calls between the respective private clubs from Sydney to Melb’ pleading the case….eh? eh?…; “Maaaate!”…you just know it…like we ALL just know it!
    F#ck ’em!!

  19. Joseph Carli

    “INTENT!” , diannaart!..I have only one intent….: crude, rough, well-deserved justice!

  20. Joseph Carli

    And where are Brandis’s diaries?..is that not contempt of court?…and the evidence of Ashby’s stealing of the Speaker of the House ; Slipper’s diaries?..is that not a crime?…and the emails from Cash’s office to the Fair Work comm’…is that not contempt…what goes there?..another moment in George Pell’s confessional and all is forgiven!!??…If the bloody Federal Courts can’t get “justice”…then what use “Rule by Law”…better rough justice…it may be all the people have left !

  21. Joseph Carli

    And then there’s that last little thing about the last federal election where there were just a few little discrepencies in the taking of the votes..nothing much…just a few funny bits and pieces…like the fact that the election swung on just a few postal votes in several electorates…I mean; postal votes in an age of pre-polling when you go on holiday and you know there’s an election coming up while you’re away…and then all those postals coming through “Australia House” , London…in effect the largest voting block in the nation ..some ;70,000,postal votes all going through the (almost) ancestral home of the Downer family…and so many from just those electorates that were at risk..and two weeks extra allowed for them to come in to be counted…: “Come in Spinner!”…
    And we wonder what bullshit is!

  22. diannaart

    This may surprise you Joe, but I can add pertinent useful commentary to AIMN blogs, perhaps if I had called myself Don instead of Dianna…

  23. Joseph Carli

    ” …perhaps if I had called myself Don instead of Dianna…”…Hey!..I’m the one around here who’s got the chip on their shoulder!…you go find another “beat” to walk…that one’s all mine!

  24. diannaart

    I should steer clear from making any comments on your articles.

    I believe in an exchange of ideas, thoughts, whether we are in full agreement or not – yes, I am that naive. Not fatuous responses such as:

    “are you interested in a conversation…” …like a “chat-up”?…sure..but I have to tell you ; I’m taken!

  25. Joseph Carli

    Aww…c’mon, diannaart…us lefties have to have more hide than that!..and anyway..just like Kaye Lee…you like the repartee!…doncha?…. 🙂

  26. Freethinker

    “They want us to be afraid.
    They want us to be afraid of leaving our homes.
    They want us to barricade our doors
    and hide our children.
    Their aim is to make us fear life itself!
    They want us to hate.
    They want us to hate ‘the other’.
    They want us to practice aggression
    and perfect antagonism.
    Their aim is to divide us all!
    They want us to be inhuman.
    They want us to throw out our kindness.
    They want us to bury our love
    and burn our hope.
    Their aim is to take all our light!
    They think their bricked walls
    will separate us.
    They think their damned bombs
    will defeat us.
    They are so ignorant they don’t understand
    that my soul and your soul are old friends.
    They are so ignorant they don’t understand
    that when they cut you I bleed.
    They are so ignorant they don’t understand
    that we will never be afraid,
    we will never hate
    and we will never be silent
    for life is ours!”
    ― Kamand Kojouri

  27. diannaart

    Oh, I adore repartee, some witty banter – when you actually start, please let me know… on second thought, maybe not.

    😛

  28. Joseph Carli

    Ouch!…touche!

  29. Jack Russell

    My SMITE button has been ready for years … when do we start!

  30. David Evans

    Why not a Federal Independent Anti Corruption Commission, with a sign out front saying “Whistle Blowers Welcome”. Or even crowd funded Class Actions?

  31. Freethinker

    David Evans, the panel will be selected by the politicians and also they will dictate the terms of reference.
    People power IMO is the only solution, massive peaceful demonstrations in all the capital cities and large regional towns.

  32. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    wouldnt need to hide behind fake names. statements against politicians are protected by the Constitution and only organisations with a handful of shareholders or employees can sue for defamation in aust. Use their real names. Hence i accuse the liberal party of being a criminal organisation. i will prosecute my case against them. But can i also be judge and jury? Please??? And executioner too????

  33. cjward2017

    “I have only one intent….: crude, rough, well-deserved justice!” Presumably no more territorialdemands. Because this is a multi-national, not multicultural entity…not a society as defined. The idea of peoples’ justice is undenaiably attractive and you have very little traction at present. As for an ICAC (Simon) we face the inexorable problem: who is chosen and by whom? Is it Richardson who said inter alia that you should never call a Royal Commission unless you know the outcome? The same general rule can be applied across the spectrum of politics, law and academe. Who has the next persons whatsit in their pocket. And let no one mention the Armed forces, because they’ve been deracinated and bereft of leadership. I’m afraid our Dept of Home Security will hold all the aces.

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