NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith has highlighted today’s Simon Gittany case as a positive example of social media use in courts, after the high-profile case became a trending topic on Twitter this afternoon.
Australian courts have been debating how social media should and should not be used for some time, to prevent jurors from purposely or inadvertently coming across prejudicial information during trials.
Simon Gittany was convicted of murdering his 30-year-old girlfriend Lisa Harnum in the Supreme Court today. Journalists and members of the public contributed to a blow-by-blow account of the verdict on Twitter, with the trending hashtag #gittany.
Here’s why Smith said Twitter was a good thing for the case:
Tweets have highlighted the thorough reasoning required from a judge and complimented the meticulous and considered fashion in which the decision was outlined.
This case, and its coverage in social and traditional media, offers the community a chance to engage with the court system and improve their understanding.
We are often ready to criticise social media when they get it wrong in reporting on criminal matters, but from what I have seen today seems to have been a good example of broadly respectful and responsible reporting which helped educate the public.
A link to the full judgement was disseminated on Twitter this afternoon. Freelance journalist Andrew Jaffrey noted that it was the longest judgement ever delivered verbally.
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