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Re-Victimization

I just saw an advertisement for the CTV NewsNet coverage of the Robert Pickton murder trial. On one hand, I'm relieved that after all this time the trial is about to begin. On the other hand, there has been some backlash to the continued publicity among some groups in British Columbia, particularly from women's groups. I'd like to add a thought or two, if I may.

Much is made about the "public's right to know". As a member of the public, I'd like to establish and enshrine right at this moment the right not to care. I am not interested in the day-to-day testimony, and I will not care until the verdict is in. The verdict is what is important, not the daily events in the courtroom. If I were one of the families whose daughters have vanished, I would be a little tired of the constant reiteration of the same speculation over and over again.

"The public's right to know" is an excuse, and not a very good one at that. The media uses its' supposed "championing of the little guy" language to disguise that fact that they are pandering to put butts in seats and eyes on screens. The transparent exploitation of tragedy to appeal to the baser parts of human nature is appalling. Why does the public have a right to know anything about this other than the verdict? The families of the victims will be in the courtroom, and as far as I'm concerned, those are the only people who have a right to the information presented at trial.

Let's look closer at this supposed "right":

1.) What constructive information will come from the details that are shared?

2.) How does knowing benefit the public at large?

3.) How does sharing this information potentially damage the families of the victims?

4.) How will the sharing of the information hinder the selection and voting process of a jury?

5.) Can a jury (or for that matter, a judge) be impartial, and remain so until the end of the trial, based strictly on what they have seen, and not be influenced by the rush to judgment that constitutes media coverage? No system of isolation is perfect.

There is no legitimate purpose to broadcast the details of this or any other trial. The purpose of the media is to make money for shareholders, and any implication that they are presenting you with unbiased information out of a sense of duty to the public is false. We are not being informed for our benefit, we are all the victims of a dishonest sales pitch. The media does nothing other than dishonor the families of the victims, and trivialize the lives and unfortunate deaths of too many unfortunate British Columbian women.

Robert W. Pickton may be a vile serial killer, but until he is declared so by a court of law, what happens between now and then is none of our business.

Flash,

I'm going to respectfully disagree. It is very much our business. Picton got away with his crimes for so long because it was none of our business. It was none of our business what a bunch of East Vancouver drug addicts and hookers did. It was none of our business how they got there. It was none of our business what happened to them.

Indeed, many of them knew about "the farm" before the cops, but the cops ignored them. It was none of their business. No one cared what happened to those "people" - they were disposable. This was why Picton picked them as victims (and why Ridgeway picked them just south of there as well).

No we need to see this to get the whole picture. We need to see that these women had families, problems and issues. That save a few bad choices or bad circumstances, they are very much like our sisters or our aunts or our mothers. We need to hear what happened to make Willie Picton the monster he became.

And for justice to be done, it must be done in public so we may learn and change. Just because we may be offended by the subject matter does not me we should advocate secret trials. And it should be public so that in the incredibly unlikely event that Picton is innocent (or did not act alone) we can see the poor case against him and correct it. Stephen Truscott and Guy Paul Morin are a testament to that - without public scrutiny of the gory details, both men would not have found justice.

I want people to be able to see this so they can see how our justice system works and how it doesn't. i want people to remember those women as real people, the next time they see a hooker in Ottawa or Toronto or Halifax. I want them to think of the horror that can happen when they see a junkie at a bus stop. I want them to think of these people as people, not the disposal garae of a rotten downtown core.

Maybe then something can be done to help them and to stop guys like Picton long before take victims.

Sometimes if the public's stomach will be turned, it should be.

I do not want the victim's families to relive the horror, and to be exploited. I hope their attorneys can stop that abuse. I hope the Crown can protect them. But my sympathy for the lot of the victim's families cannot let me condone a secret trial.

Because it is very much my business.

if we only heard that there was a court hearing and then the next we hear the verdict ... ; no matter what the outcome, it is just another trail. i want to hear how and what goes on in the courts. i am aware of media bias, i hope i have good judgement to filter; and i hope the women and families are not exploited. however, by hearing about it; it is talked about ... and with all hopes change can come about. despite pickton, the other tragedy is why did so many missing women go without a real on going investigation. why were they just another silent number?

I have to throw my opinion on the side of Mike and a_o on this one. Justice has to be seen to be fair, otherwise it is simply another decision coming out of a box. Yes, for many this will mean publicly re-living old horrors and opening old wounds, and that's unfortunate, but it is part of the process.

Alas, for most of us this will only be an opportunity for grisly rubber-necking, but that also is part of the process.

Good points, folks. Thanks for commenting. I always learn something after sharing my opinion - that makes writing in this forum a lot of fun.
I wasn't referring to secrecy, rather toning down the publicity. I think the media circus that will inevitably arise makes a mockery of our justice system and objectifies the victims and their families. A small point, I admit.

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