Court reporting was usually the chief reporter’s job but when he was away or had something more important to attend to it became mine.
Court started at 10am and the paper went to the presses around mid-day. That meant for the first couple of hours I had to take notes on the current case while writing -neatly by hand because we didn’t have laptops then – the story of the previous one for a runner to pick up and take to the office.
It wasn’t easy for someone just out of journalism school but most of the cases were pretty simple – variations on traffic, alcohol and drug offences.
After a few stints as court reporter I realised I wasn’t just seeing the same charges again and again, I was often seeing the same people, or members of their families.
I was back in court this morning (not in the dock), talking to a former prison pastor who still works with prisoners, their families and victims. He told me nothing’s changed, he keeps seeing the same people time and time again.
This is a sorry reflection on them, their failure to learn and their lack of regard for the law. But doesn’t it also tell us there needs to be a lot more effort put into preventing crime and ensuring those who err once learn not to do it again?