Sylvia Stead writes that this trial was about much more than just one man accused of sexual assault.
By Sylvia Stead for the Globe and Mail
The Jian Ghomeshi trial on charges of sexual assault and choking has concluded and we won’t know the verdict until March 24 when Justice William B. Horkins rules in front of what no doubt will be a throng of journalists and others ready to tweet, report and broadcast every small detail.
Not only has the trial garnered much attention, so too has the media coverage of it. A university class I spoke to Thursday wondered why columnists are expressing such strong opinions on a criminal court case.
This doesn’t happen in a jury trial because the media coverage can be seen as potentially influencing the jurors, but there is no such concern when the case is being heard by a judge only as in this trial. The practice over the past few years has been that the media has offered opinions or analysis on judge-only trials.
Still it feels to some that the needle is moving in terms of court coverage, in part because of social media, live tweeting and instant reporting on every twist and turn. On top of this, there has been so much coverage on many media and platforms.
In fact, the live tweeting and breaking news coverage isn’t new either, but the combination of the subject matter and the fame (in Canadian media circles anyway) of the accused and the major coverage by most media has brought the question into the spotlight.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the author as Kathy English. We apologize for the mistake.