Clouden calls for cameras to cover court proceedings

Attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden believes the time has come to allow reporters with camera into the local courts to televise the proceedings.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, the outspoken lawyer said the presence of the cameras in the court will help to get the public to have a better understanding of the law and how it is laid down.

Presently, the cameras are only allowed into the courts to cover ceremonial sessions.

According to Clouden, this is not enough since the Grenada Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and with the media recognized as the Fourth Estate, it is only through reporters that that freedom can be realised.

“When the court sits, it sits as a public institution and the public has a right of access to the courts and to its proceedings and it is through court reporting that that right and access is being crystallized”, he said.

Clouden pointed out that the judiciary cannot hide itself from within the walks of the court since the judiciary is considered to be an integral part of the public in the discharge of its duties.

He said the public must have access to the judiciary and that access can only be made available through the media.

“The camera should be there (inside the court rooms) so that the people can understand the importance of the rule of law and how the law functions in a democratic society,” he added.

Clouden stressed that the presence of the media in the court is nothing unusual since it often happens in other jurisdictions.

“It happens in Canada, Australia – look at the OJ Simpson case in the United States, the world was able to look in at the functioning of the Criminal Justice System in America and make its own determination on whether justice was done or justice was denied,” he said.

“The CCJ (Caribbean Court of Justice) to which a number of OECS countries now clamour for entry; the proceedings of the CCJ are now televised so you can clock in Caribbean Court of and see the proceedings and see the lawyers perform”, he added.

Clouden argues that the use of the camera is now a daily happening in life and no attempt should be made to keep it out of the local courts.

“You have a camera in everything now, every body has camera, why not legal proceedings in the court and why not reporters to communicate those proceedings to the public-at -large.

“I so recommend that the judiciary gives due consideration to its independence by having a free dissemination of adjudication to the public viewing so the public can decide whether justice is denied or whether justice has rolled down like waters of righteousness.

The city barrister also points to the fact that there is no law in existence, which prohibits reporters from entering the courts, and as such it is now up to the court to allow the use of camera to cover its proceedings to come into effect.

“There must be a judicial policy of having the camera in the court, a judicial policy of having court reporters present throughout all proceedings save and except those of a matrimonial nature where you have under specific legislation a statute prohibiting people being present for example with respect to juveniles, the defilement of female under 13, rape and such kindred offences,” Clouden said.

“… Save and except those instances, there is no reason why the public should not be able to view a case of public interest”, he told reporters.

The attorney is confident that once the use of the camera in the courthouse is implemented as a policy, there will be a reduction in criminal activity.



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