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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Thursday Thought: The Dr Conrad Murray Trial - Should a man's life become entertainment?

Doctor Conrad Murray: A study of innocence[Image Source]

I don't know about you, but when I tuned into the verdict of the Dr Conrad Murray trail on Sky news on Monday night, I had a wide awakening  to the American court system. 

Maybe I'm old fashioned but to me, court appearances should be intimidating - after all you've supposedly committed a crime to be there so the experience shouldn't be a pleasant one. There should be strict proceedings and a rehearsed script. Both of which weren't present in Monday's case. 

The trial was immediately 'lightened' by the inclusion of a camera into the court room, but I can't fight that battle too much as you can argue the story 'serves the public interest'. However, the informalities came flying at my TV screen. The judge seemed a little bit too happy to be there, from his smirk to his casual tone of voice. If I was about to convict a man, my tone of voice would be neutral as I wouldn't want the cheer of my voice to at all present a bias to guilty or not guilty. A form submitted by one of the jurors was incorrect with the date of the alleged incident. For this not to be checked before submission astounded me - it's not like you got your there/their/they're (s) mixed up at your local pub quiz - a man's future is at stake. The judge did bring this up to his defence, by stating some 'squiggles' had been written admitting to the mistake, as if this rectifies the mistake! 

Murray remained emotionless and silent during the proceedings, then again, he was probably bored listening to the judge sucking up to the jury by spending a lifetime thanking the members for their co-operation and apologising how the case has impacted their life. Hello? Murray's life was in the hands of these people so it seemed a bit cheeky to compare their experience to his (if he wasn't guilty that is). 

The judge then addressed the issue of jury members selling their story which I can imagine their all itching to do, but personally I thought this seemed distasteful to be discussing this 'excitement' whilst Murray was still in court. 

While I can't comment on a standard American court case as I only got an insider's view into this instance because of the hype around it, I was shocked by how informal it all was. It seemed as casual as popping to the shops and while it may have been entertaining to the viewer, it certainly wasn't entertaining for Murray. 

Yes, by tuning in myself you could say I'm a hypocrite as in some ways I was contributing to the 'entertainment factor', but I wasn't watching for scandal, I was watching for the verdict. While viewers may have thrived off of the building tension and placed our bets on guilty or not guilty, we forget that this isn't a soap drama, but a real man's life. We know what he's done or hasn't done via  the media but we of course do not know the entire story. That is in the hands of the jury and the judge, and even they will never know what really happened. The only people who do are Murray and Jackson - one of which will never get to air his version of events. 

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