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Steinbach lawyer likes cameras in courts

By: Chris Gareau

Posted: 05/29/2014 9:47 AM

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A pilot project is putting video cameras in Manitoba courts. Steinbach lawyer Michael Dyck sees the move as a good one and in the public’s interest.

The next case being broadcast is Friday morning’s Court of Appeal hearing dealing with a man challenging his sentence of 6-and-a-half years in prison for impaired driving causing death and bodily harm last year. The hearing is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and Winnipeg media outlets are streaming it live on their websites.

"I think the biggest pro for it is sometimes in court lawyers can get comfortable at a certain point, and sometimes formalities go to the wayside because we’re all familiar with the process and we’re familiar with each other… For accused individuals, sometimes I think that lack of formality changes how they view the proceedings because proceedings are serious… I think it’s a good thing for the public perception of justice," said Dyck, who admitted he likes informality personally.

Dyck points out that what most Canadians know of the legal system comes from scripted television. He believes having cameras show the reality of Canadian law may help alleviate many misconceptions.

"If people actually do start watching, they might learn a little about the justice system and I think the more you learn about it, the more you can understand it and the less enraged people typically get. Public opinion is an important thing but, especially when you look at some legal tests (in sentencing), it’s in the public’s mind would this bring the administration of justice into disrepute. But it’s always an informed public; so it’s not going into the street and asking people if this guy should have gotten bail or not," explained Dyck.

 

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