The Concept of Fair Trial Essay

The Concept of Fair Trial Essay

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“The right of a criminal defendant to a fair trial is absolute... The right to a fair trial is one to be enjoyed by the guilty as well as the innocent, for a defendant is presumed to be innocent until proved to be otherwise in a fairly conducted trial,” (Randall v. R. (Cayman Islands), 2002). The concept of fair trial is self-explanatory; it simply means an impartial trial that is executed to grant each party involved in a case their fundamental right which guarantees them a right to due. The scenario provided gives rise to issues of contempt of court, the sub judice rule and the code of ethics for media professionals. This essay will expound on the aforementioned issues, discuss whether or not the comments made by Speek Owt are licit and state the consequences to be faced by him and Scandal FM.
The law dealing with contempt in the Caribbean jurisdictions is generally found to be at common law, except in Guyana, where there is a Contempt of Court Act. Common law offences are established by the courts over the years where there lies no legislation, that is, they are derived from case law. According to Crone (2002), contempt of court refers to the improper interference with the administration of justice. Its origin lies within the rule of law, that the court must be free to decide on the matters before it, unhindered by outside influence. Publication of contempt can be either a criminal or civil contempt. At common law, there are three offences of criminal contempt. This includes interfering with pending or imminent court proceedings, contempt in the face of court and scandalizing the court. The criminal contempt offence committed by Speech Owt is interfering with pending or imminent court proceedings. It is concerned with the likel...


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Contempt of court & contempt of parliament. (n.d.). Unpublished raw data, Caribbean Institute
of Media and Communications, University of the West Indies, Mona. Kingston, Jamaica.
Crone, T. (2002). Law and the media. (4th ed.). Woburn, MA: Focal Press.
Daley, V. (2014). Law of contempt [Online forum content]. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from
ourvle.mona.uwi.edu.
POUS report. (2008). Forum on contempt of court and media publicity. London, England.
Press Association of Jamaica Code of ethics. (2005). Retrieved March 12, 2014, from
http://www.pressassociationjamaica.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Code-for-Media-
Practitioners.pdf
Disclosure: A Jamaican protocol. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2014, from
http://dpp.gov.jm/sites/default/files/pdf/Disclosure%20-
%20A%20Jamaican%20Protocol.pdf

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