Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spector faces life sentence for actress's murder

Phil Spector, the legendary record producer who invented the "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is likely to spend the rest of his natural life behind bars after being found guilty of murdering a struggling actress at his hilltop castle in Los Angeles. A famous eccentric with a track record of abusive behaviour towards women and a fatal fascination with firearms, the characteristically dishevelled-looking Spector did not react when the verdict was read out by the foreman of the jury yesterday afternoon, following 30 hours of deliberations. In reaching its decision, the jury of six men and six women chose not to convict Spector on a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, which would have carried a sentence of between two and four years.

I do not wish to comment on this court case but on what I watched live on Sky News television after the trial. Sky News interrupted it's normal news broadcast to bring it's viewers live coverage of the press conferences after the trial. I found myself glued to my television as the defence team answered questions from the press about the trial. This was good television as it showed the viewer how the defense team had tried their level best to achieve a not-guilty verdict. But the best was to come when the chairperson of the jury, a woman, took the stand to answer the press questions. This woman jury member said her bit and then started to answer the questions. The press did not hold back and their questions were sharp. She explained how the jury had followed the instructions from the judge and over 30 hours had discussed everything. The press continued their sharp questions to the woman who was reduced to tears when she claimed that no-one knows how much pressure the jury was under to reach a verdict. This woman had clearly found her jury service very stressful and she was clearly relived it had come to an end.

I found this television footage very gripping. What I liked about it was the sense of justice it portrayed. It showed a transparent justice system, a justice system that worked with human beings who showed how hard they had worked for a fair trial. In a lot of court cases you wonder just how a jury has reached it's verdict. In this trial you were left in no doubt how this jury had reached it's verdict and that this trial was fair. I like this transparency and viewers were told that we would never see a jury press conference like this here in the UK. Which is a shame and I feel this would be a good move for us to copy from America. It is good for a jury to explain to the public their verdict and gives the viewer a better feeling that justice has been done. It also makes great television because the person answering the press has little time to prepare for the conference. Also it is a fresh opinion being made by a jury member and this is not that person's day job, so the chance of media-spin is reduced.
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