As always, my weekly TV column is up at Torontoist.
Also, this week I’m pulling double duty at TheCourt.ca, starting off today with a post about R. v. Walker and its implications for judicial reasoning requirements in criminal trials.
A comment on theCourt.ca article:
This isn’t about your writing alone, but generally about the style of court commentaries written by anyone.
Tell me what the hell happened in the first paragraph!
1) Dude acquitted of murder by trial judge.
2) Saskatchewan supreme court overturns acquittal on crowns appeal.
3) Supreme court overturns Saskatchewan’s ruling (thus the acquittal stands).
Now I know what I’m reading about. Now the commentary and analysis makes sense.
I’ve been reading court cases for about 20 years now, and the lack of a decent introduction always means I have to read it two or three times to get the most out of it. This is law, not a mystery novel. What is important here is the reasoning and the arguments, not the flow of events. If at the beginning, I knew that the acquittal was important, I would have read Kovach’s decision differently.
A simple summary in the first para (Nicely italicized) to separate it from the main text would do nicely. For Example:
(forgive any errors in terminology)
“Robert Walker was acquitted of murdering his wife by lower court judge Kovach J. for reasons of reasonable doubt as to intent.
Kovach’s decision was over turned by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (Cameron J.A. deciding) due to the fact that Kovach’s had not adequately explained his reasons for the acquittal.
The SCC (Binnie deciding) found that reasonable doubt did exist and that Kovach was not required to pinpoint a single exact reason for that doubt. The original acquittal was restored.”
Now you can get into the good bits and explain the arguments.
Instead what I often find (particularly in the official transcripts is)
“Held that the appeal should be allowed” and have to read 5 pages to figure out what the appeal was all about.
Granted, these Court.ca articles are much better than some case reports I’ve read.
I’ve never been able to decide between The Why of Fry and Jurassic Bark.
Futurama could be much more emotional and evocative when it wanted to be — guayec’s two episodes mentioned were perfectly sentimental and genuinely moving without being cloying.
None of which excuses it for a certain plot twist in Beast With a Billion Backs, though. You’ll know it when you see it.
“I love you, Dr. Zaius!”
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