News That’s Fit To Punt 04/06/09

A Jury Of One’s Peers

Pumpkin’s evil father and failed martial arts instructer and alleged sometime murderer Xue, is facing trial for his misdeed. A few days ago I read this article and got to this bit and it made me chuckle:

Xue has pleaded not guilty to the murder and at one stage applied for bail, apparently hoping to work to pay his legal fees after NZ authorities were slow to approve legal aid funding.

He was deemed a serious flight risk and refused.

His case made news headlines when it was revealed his legal team had applied for taxpayer funds for a private investigator to look into the backgrounds of jurors in his trial. New Zealanders were outraged at the application, which was declined by Legal Services.

Then of course, I found this one which made me really laugh:

A jury of 12 women has been chosen for the trial, which is expected to go for five weeks and include evidence from more than 110 witnesses from New Zealand, Australia and the US.

A jury of 12 women! The man has no chance.

Which got me thinking… Can it really be justifiable to have a jury of 12 women in a case where there was clearly domestic violence and expect it to be fair and impartial? Wouldn’t it be like say having Adolf Hitler getting an all-Jewish jury or OJ Simpson getting an all-white jury? Or for that matter the crazy Kangaroo court presided over by a Kurdish judge for Saddam Hussein? Surely the conflicts of interests are there to be seen by all.

How would it even be remotely justifiable in saying that the trial was fair and impartial under the system when any person looking in from the outside can clearly see there are agendas and interest that pertain to race and gender, plastered all over these case?

There’s no way known these 12 New Zealand women actually share any kind of cultural or social values with the Xue, the accused. To say that they are his peers, is stretching the definition to breaking point. The guy might be a scum bucket S.O.B., but this jury is most likely not going to reflect well on the court when the come to a verdict in 3 minutes flat and decide on locking up Xue for the rest of his natural life.

ABC Suspends Chasers

The Chasers ran a skit poking fun of the Make a Wish FOundation. It has provoked cuch fury in the public, the ABC has decided to bench the show for a couple of weeks.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott announced the decision tonight after the furore surrounding the sketch, “Make A Realistic Wish”, which went to air on Wednesday night.

The decision, made with the ABC’s Director of Television, Kim Dalton, followed discussions with The Chaser team.

“We have decided that this is the most appropriate course of action,” Mr Scott said.

“It gives the ABC an opportunity to complete a review of editorial approval processes. It also gives The Chaser a chance to regroup and review their material.

“In making the wrong judgement call we have let down our audience and the wider community. We need to fully review the ABC’s approval processes for programs that deliberately challenge public attitudes.”

Well, the joke always hurts when it’s pointed at you, and you can’t help but be in the situation you’re being lampooned for. Most parents of sick kids don’t choose that situation out of joy or pleasure.

The Chaser boys sure missed on this one in one critical way: they decided to turn their considerable skills for derision on a largely weak, benign group. The Chasers were always at their best poking fun at the powerful, like the Prime Minister or his Treasurer. They’re not so good if they’re dumb enough to pick on a weak target that gets a break from just a out everybody in the community.

In fact it should be one of the covenants for satirists that they only take on the large, powerful institutions. Not the weak, the poor and wretched.

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