The Scott Guy Trial and Privacy: A Society on Trial

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Thu, 2012-06-14 04:23

From best of Life Behind the IRon Drape:

A society that puts the private affairs, and pain, of the Guy/Macdonald families on the six o’clock news every night for our prurient interest is a barbaric one. The mother’s evidence and grief two days ago recounting the death of her son should not have been public spectacle, nor should Anna Macdonald’s hellish position of giving evidence regarding her (weeping) husband, in the case of her brother’s murder, both men of whom she loved. None of this is any of our business. It’s justice meets reality TV with its sick lineage back to the gladiator pits of Rome. It’s the barbaric life and justice of the tribe lived in public. For the opening news item tonight, why doesn’t TVNZ just put Jerry Springer on in the place of Simon Dellow: that’ll be good for ratings.

A major theme that readers will soon pick up in this blog is that civilisation is a movement toward privacy, the police state the reverse: that if you have no privacy, then you have no liberty. And how we treat privacy in this instance, with cameras rolling in the courts, makes a mockery of innocent until proven guilty: if Ewen Macdonald is innocent, it’s too late already to save his reputation and future prospects, because there was always this second trial by the public who are not in court and don’t get all the facts. We’ve already heard from Lindy Chamberlain this week, what such bush justice is like. In respect of privacy issues I find the political Left and Right both equally repugnant.

To carry out their program of theft, sorry, redistribution, the Left from the get-go had to destroy the privacy of every individual: for IRD to be able to take my earnings and my property, my privacy before state officials first had to be disposed of; it was a given from the time the first Left dictatorian decided it was better that they, not I, should decide what was to be done with my money, just like in every police state from history. Albeit, let me put on record, the majority of IRD staffers I deal with daily are ‘good’ people, I have no complaint whatsoever on a personal/personable level; but this blog is about the principles involved. And don’t give me the Privacy Commission as a safeguard: a society only needs a Privacy Commission after it has first destroyed my privacy – it’s simply an admission of the crime already committed by the state, and the Commission is state run, so that’s no safeguard.

Although, as in the case of this trial, the (conservative) Right are worse, for they don’t even have the excuse of expediency (to my money): theirs appears to me to be simply the emoting of the vigilante delivering bush justice from the mob. It’s my major point of difference to the naming and shaming Whaleoil, wanting to deliver, I take it from his daily proverb, his Old Testament eye for an eye revenge. His advocacy of the ‘outing’ by naming, pre-verdict, as I believe is the position with NBR (?), shows that innocence or not doesn’t seem to play a part in their reasoning. And the argument that technology today makes privacy of the accused, but un-tried, impossible, is not an argument, it’s a cop out, because privacy is a moral issue, as is my freedom.

I believe there should be no cameras in court. I believe that we all are innocent until proven guilty, and that other than in the very rare case of public safety, to be decided by the police, all defendants before criminal trial should have name suppression unless, or until, proven guilty. That’s the civil and civilised society. Yes, we must have reporters in the court, as a check on corruption and to ensure the law is delivered without bias, but that need only be an embargoed print media, with proceedings reported either only after a guilty verdict, or by withholding names in the case of innocence.

And as an aside, turning this issue back onto the themes of this blog, consider that as an alleged murderer, Ewen Macdonald still has more rights than a law abiding taxpayer before the IRD. The Crown must prove Macdonald murdered Scott Guy, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor, as it should be. If this were a tax case, it is reversed; the Crown would simply have sent him a statement saying guilty, with no reasons necessarily attached, and it would be up to him to prove his innocence. What sort of society does that to its law abiding citizens? (Answer: read my blog byline).

I hope through this blog I am starting to make my limited readership understand the nature of the brute-perfumed society we’ve voted in: it is the life forcibly lived in public; a police state, by most definitions, this scant regard for privacy being a major one of them. Take those damned cameras out of that court, and have the decency of a civil society for the Guys’ and Macdonalds’; their lives are hard enough, and angst nothing to do with us.

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Damien Grant's picture

I'm often in court, nature of the industry.

No, a criminal justice system

Mark Hubbard's picture

No, a criminal justice system - that's courts and police - is one of few roles of state. I know you agree with that, as you're no anarchist. The free press are in the court, but name suppression applies unless, or until, a guilty verdict, that protects the accused's freedom should they be proved innocent.

By the way, what were you doing in court today? Torturing some poor wretched malinvestment?


Damien Grant's picture

Catching and punishing wrong doers, sure, but telling a free press what it can and cannot report? I'm not sure.

You start by saying you cannot report on accused because it causes them harm, but if that is the rationale then you need state resources to police and enforce this, ok, but it is a tiny tilt at event horizon to extend this power.

The current issue is because there are cameras in court. I have no strong view there but I can accept that if the accused or the victims preferred the cameras were not there they should be entitled to their privacy, but I would prefer to leave the states jurisdiction on media reporting to end at the court door.

The history of state power is that is expands easily and is contracted with great difficulty, some loss of privacy may be a price to be paid here.

Justice department. Where do

Mark Hubbard's picture

Justice department. Where do you think the court room and the judge came from?

... And for the record, below should've been 'role'.


Damien Grant's picture

But who arranges name suppression?


Mark Hubbard's picture

Hey, too much science fiction Muddle-Man. The criminal system is one of (the few) legitimate functions of the state, so operating in this sphere is not taking the good ship freedom into the abyss of state (just everything else is). And it's roll here is confined by a constitution. It's more that we're going the way of the public stocks and rotten eggs.

Thinking out loud Mark

Damien Grant's picture

You state that defendants should have name suppression. Perhaps, but who does the name suppressing?

Who has the authority to order such suppression?

It has been an idle thought for a while now, that this is how the state expands. Yes, name suppression for those may be a good thing, so is educating orphans and treating sick children, but in order to do such seemingly benign and worthy things so 'someone' must be charged with arranging this.

This, I think, is Genesis. It is the event horizon that leads us to the ever-expanding black hole of the state.

It is where the state obtains its legitimacy.

Why does the state have a right to tell us what to eat? Because it pays for our health care. Why does the state have a right to tax us? Because we have charged it with providing us with goods and services.

Crying foul over taxes is not enough, we must attack and undermine the reason that the state taxes, its very reason for it's existence.

Um, Damien, I'm not sure I

Mark Hubbard's picture

Um, Damien, I'm not sure I follow you in that first post?

Of course

Damien Grant's picture

That the media is allowed in the court is a seperate issue. I was in court today, I invited the media but alas they were bounced!

You are right that courts should not be the modern circus Maximus. The cameras have no role in a criminal trial.


Damien Grant's picture

I am unsure how I feel about this Mark.

I worry that if we give the state responsibility we grant the state license to interfer beyond what should be their remit.

It is what I have been saying about Heath care. Because the state has the liability for health care it gives them an interest in our health choices.

Here we have private organizations (let's pretend tvnz is a private organization for a minute) providing a service to which people pay for, one way or the other.

If you say such actions cannot happen then you give the state a right to regulate and meddle and possibly take enforcement action. Goode is beside himself at the outrage that I can sue him for printing copies of my work, I am unsure how he would feel about me or worse the state, taking action to prevent media from covering an event; not that Goode's reactions should be the benchmark.

I do get annoyed at organizations, the SFO comes to mind, that publish that they are investigations against someone months before they charge them and in somemcases they are announce that they are not proceeding. The person, who may or may not be guilty suffers real commercial loss, but outside that, the police are usually silent on what they are up to, it is the media who get worked up.

Agree about being too late -

Mark Hubbard's picture

Agree about being too late - the economic collapse of Europe and the US is simply the logical consequence of the philosophic collapse somewhere after WWII (in many ways, Lenin and Marx via Gramsci have won the Cold War). So the only course left is to make my point Eye And as another spin of the die, I'm trying to brand myself, through my blog, separate to your rather huge personality here, as a platform to launch a novel towards the end of the year ... I'm putting all the major characters in Orwell's 1984 into a current day tax audit (and I don't have to change any laws for it to fit on all fours).

Bro Hubbard

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I don't watch our TV news because I can't stand the quacking, which itself shows the triumph of barbarism. Thus I didn't know, but should have realised, that the Guy trial, complete with tears (close-ups, no doubt), was leading the bulletins at the moment. Being from Feilding I have more than a passing interest in the matter, but I shall avoid the TV coverage like the plague. From what I've read online the evidence is far from conclusive, and the jury's understanding of "beyond reasonable doubt"—another casualty of the Age of the Airhead—will be tested. And of course, when it comes to the IRD, all of the above is reversed anyway, as you rightly highlight.

We're beyond the point of no return. Brutish philistinism is everywhere. I saw Obamarx today flatly disclaiming, to mindless applause, any responsibility for the hocking off of America. When such a barefaced charlatan can so brazenly lie with such smugness as he swaggers toward re-election, you know we're all fucked. It's too late even to begin our Reverse-Gramsci. But bless you for trying.

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