Where will it end?
31 December 2014
In a coda to the trial of Rafael Hui et al, we note a ruling by Justice Andrew Macrae on 15-Jul-2014 in which he ruled on an application from the Asia Legal Editor of Bloomberg News which, like most of the media, was struggling to follow the prosecution's intricate arguments about the flow of funds. The jury had benefited from two "fund flow charts" prepared by the prosecution to assist them in understanding the evidence, and Bloomberg wanted to see the charts too, in the interests of accurate reporting and open justice.
Contrary to an English court decision in Guardian News and Media Ltd v City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, our judge decided that although the argument was "finely balanced" he would reject the application. He wrote in paragraph 10:
"To paraphrase Sir Humphrey Appleby in "Doing the Honours": "Where will it all end?" once a respectable journalistic reason for better understanding the criminal justice system through the material concerned is mounted."
Well, perhaps it could at least start. In the interests of open justice and saving trees, high court writs, affidavits and other filings available in paper form from the courts should be scanned (if not filed digitally) and made available online. In the meantime, here is Justice Appleby:
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