22 October 2022
MEDIA & JURORS
When the Australian media kept publishing reports about protestors and economic collapse of Sri Lanka there were hardly any Opposers of those reports. I did not see any from the Sri Lankan Diaspora groups, except my own. If we had a vote – they would ‘poll’ more than I, due to the pre-packaged opinion. Yet media reports were considered negative by many in the Brittany Higgins rape allegation case. Below is discussion with a couple of intellectuals (I-1 & I-2)who value my work:
I-1:I believe that Jurors make their decision to give a majority verdict based on the evidence in court.
Gaja: Jurors are NOT law experts. Their interpretation of ‘what happened – as confirmed by their acceptance of ‘evidence in court’ is passed through their belief which is likely to include their religious tenets.
I-1:In this case previous media coverage had conducted a kangaroo court and tainted the landscape even before it came before the court.
Gaja:To the extent the jurors used the same tenets to interpret media reports the court proceedings would become an extension of that. It is a more regulated part of the Public court
I-1:Therefore, the Judge had no option but to instruct the Jury to consider only the evidence and not the media outcome. Her language may be a bit colourful, but I hope the Jurors understood the caution.
Gaja: The ‘caution’ blocks the path of belief and pollutes the jury process
I-1: If a litigant goes to court and at the end the judge proclaims " the line between allegation and a finding of guilt had been obliterated"
Then allegation and guilt becomes one isn't? That is the courts basically may have not pursued the truth.
Gaja: Like in religion, the truth would take different forms as per the measures we use. The judgment of the judge in court must look different to the judge of the jury who represent the lay public.
I-1: On the other hand, the allegation is so strong that the courts arguments and evidence found it to be true.
Gaja:That is your judgment and not the court’s. If you are using Judge McCallum’s mind – you are being disrespectful of the jury’s independence and therefore the jury system itself.
I-1: So I am not sure what this Judge had in mind when she instructed the Jurors. Did she instruct Jurors that the allegations are true in the eyes of the law? Hard to say.
Gaja: You are taking the position of follower of the judge. This disqualifies you from being a juror. The judge did not instruct the jurors that the allegations were true. If she did she was interfering with their independence. My point was that the judge was influencing the level of evidence that the jury should accept. That acceptance was required to be made by the individual juror as per her/his belief.
I-1: Psychologists have been analyzing sub conscious influences in human minds.
Gaja: We call it karma which resides in the ‘unconscious mind’
I-1: Thus even a good judge and a well intentioned jury with moral integrity as well as witnesses and lawyers with the utmost rectitude might be sub consciously influenced by slanted media coverage - again my opinion.
Gaja: Likewise the we have to live with Politicians elected by voters who ‘desire’ free / easy money. Ultimately we live with the one we voted for – be it on the basis of desire or belief. The Court is an alternate government in which jury system is parallel of voting system. In this case it is because they are both from the Parliament, the judgement of the jury is also the judgment on our Parliament.
I-2: I think there is a convention in a majority of nations that the members of the jury have been enlisted from all strata of society & the foreman , a person of good educational standing.
Gaja: The base of thinking can range from imagination to feelings. Mine is feelings based due to my experience with the court system in Australia.
I-2: A lady teacher member of the jury in a rape case here had told my wife that there was a gentleman on the jury panel who was expressing a bit of male chauvinist opinions - that there was an element of consent on the part of the victim;
Gaja: If the lady teacher had taken care of herself in parallel circumstances, then her belief protects her from such attacks. When we learnt about the ‘Hey Dad’ case, my thoughts were- ‘where were the parents? –especially the mothers?’ – who have intuitive Energy. This is why we have as part of the Hindu marriage ceremony – the ritual of the groom placing the foot of the bride on the grinding stone and adorns it with toe-ring. The grinding stone represents the unshakable quality of chastity. A bride who accepts this ritual in good faith inherits chastity from her ancestors. Then she cures her husband’s tendency to take ‘free-sex’ which eventually contributes to rape. When it was ‘free’ if the wife / partner took her own benefits as per her own ‘calculations’ of what her body is worth she has effectively consented to it. I realised this through my racial discrimination cases in courts. Most migrants accept lower returns for their work because the money is better than what they got in their home countries. That by effect is ‘consent’. When I did object was - when they had access to records of my outstanding performance here in Australia and yet they failed to reward me on merit basis. Then the current Australian in me Opposed the old White Australian. I was ‘failed’ by courts but truth prevailed.
If the gentleman in that jury group felt there was consent, he ought to have been facilitated to express it through his vote. Anyone who calls him ‘male chauvinist’ has already judged. That is the way UN Resolutions ought to be. They are not due to quid pro quos.
I-2: the gent had been attempting to sway the opinions of the other members of the jury on this possibility:
fortunately for the victim, the foreman of the jury was able to steer the other members to comprehend the salient points of the evidence and finally come to the conclusion that the accused was guilty of rape.
Gaja: There are no rights and wrongs. If the jury acted independently, both are right but are of different cultures
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