News reporting court cases I have a question .

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  • News reporting court cases I have a question .
  • Premier Icon oldfart
    Subscriber

    Every time I hear or see on the news a report they always tell you what the accused was wearing in court . Puzzled me for a long time why they feel the need ? Am I missing something ?

    Scene setting description, innit.

    lemonysam
    Member

    Same reason as newspapers, particularly local newspapers, always putting everyone’s age in after their name I guess.

    Premier Icon joat
    Subscriber

    So they can be judged by the reader without them having to go to the bother of reading all the artical. Trainers and jogging bottoms?; to the gallows!

    Premier Icon MartynS
    Subscriber

    I’ve done a fair few court cases in my time (not as a reporter) but I don’t remember ever hearing what the defendant was wearing.
    I might be a local style possibly.. If it’s written reports it might be to up the word count.

    To be fair I might not have been paying attention though….

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Its possibly because you can’t film and photograph in court* journalists are in the habit of having to describe peoples appearance and actions.

    It might be so that it seems to your editors that you were actually in the room, and that you’ve not just written two versions ahead of time – one for each verdict – and just email off whichever get announced. If you do that though it important to mail off the right one

    * even courtroom artists can’t draw in the courtroom, they have to go outside and do it all from memory

    So they can be judged by the reader without them having to go to the bother of reading all the artical. Trainers and jogging bottoms?; to the gallows!

    There was a study a while back showing that defendants found guilty received more lenient sentences than ones that didn’t

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    It always used to be that the press restrictions on preliminary hearings meant that there was virtually bugger all you could report. Name, address, charges, legal aid, remand decision

    So if you had to produce 300 words without reference to the background to the case, the fact that the accused wore a rather fetching fedora was pretty much all the ‘colour’ you could muster.

    From what I remember of the Magistrates Court Act 1980 (?) even that kind of detail was not strictly allowed.

    Premier Icon neil the wheel
    Subscriber

    Martin has it. Saying much more would land you in court for contempt.

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