♬ This boy has got it made
It will make him all the rage
But he’s not playing
He’s not playing
He’s just having
Adventures in modern recording…♬
This column starts a new category theme in this blog: “Tips”. This tip comes from British Columbia lawyer Richard Fowler.
Unfortunately, court reporting in Ontario has not kept pace with the emerging technology which is available in the market place today and which could greatly assist judges in having a command of the vive voce testimony during the trial and when preparing their reasons for judgment.
As Mr. Granger notes in his post, such real-time reporting is not inexpensive. For most trials, but particularly for criminal ones with legal aid and court budgets under so much pressure, the cost of such a system is simply prohibitive for counsel to bring into the court. Accordingly, there must be a better way!
The Globe and Mail in an article entitled “No Laptops Please: We’re Lawyers” reported on lawyers who were attempting to bring CDs instead of boxes of evidence and laptops to court:
All of those boxes would have made a much more unwieldy prop. But given the slow pace of technological change in Canadian courtrooms, perhaps cramming them in for effect would have been more appropriate.
Earlier this month, a Whitby, Ontario, justice of the peace told criminal defence lawyer Sean Robichaud to put away his laptop, after the Crown objected to it as a potential recording device. He was forced to ask for an adjournment since his entire defence was stored on his hard drive.
Back at the law society, Mr. Stern repeatedly consulted a laptop during the proceedings. But a newspaper reporter was asked to put hers away, because it can interfere with the hearing room’s recording equipment and computer system. (The court reporter said that it wasn’t a problem that day. But rules are rules.) Don’t even think of getting out your BlackBerry.
So it was refreshing when Richard Fowler told me of his success in bringing his own recording equipment to court. In his case it is the Livescribe PULSE recording pen (www.livescribe.com). In Richards words:
Essentially I use the pen to make notes of a witnesses testimony and at the same time it records the oral testimony. I can then download to my laptop a copy of my handwritten notes that has the audio synchronized. I can click on any part of the handwritten notes and listen to the audio. This allows me to make sure that my notes, in crucial portions are accurate.
The judge was Madam Justice Arnold-Bailey of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, sitting in New Westminster, BC. The case is R. v. Butorac. I gave an undertaking to the court that I would not use the audio for any other purpose than for preparation and presentation in this trial. I based my request upon the practice directive which gives the media a right to record for the purposes of checking the accuracy of their stories.
Perhaps others can follow Richard’s trail-blazing efforts to allow lawyers to make real-time recordings of court proceedings that are more accurate than scribbled notes. I would like to thank Richard for passing along this Tip on his adventures in modern recording and I look forward to posting (and hopefully – receiving) further Tips from dedicated readers!Make it Work!, Technology, Tips, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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