How does the prosecution and defense each represent the truth? •
Values and attitudes of the participants?
Robertson’s values and representation of the truth?
Truth can be represented in differing ways according to the values and attitudes of the persona whose representation of truth is being expressed. Throughout Geoffrey Robertson’s The Justice Game the responder is convinced to accept the composer’s representation of truth through the use of composing techniques such as the short story structure, Robertson’s social status, various language techniques, symbolism and the use of examples and quotations to back up Robertson’s statements. The perspective on truth held by the other participants in each trial is however also included. The term ‘truth’ refers to accurately placing information in accordance with fact or reality. The ‘truth’ in The Justice Game is essentially about revealing to its readers “What is kept from the public, and what the public wish to be kept from”. Each case was chosen by Robertson to provide different representations of the ‘truth’ based on different values and attitudes. The short story structure allows many themes relevant to society to be coherently included in one text. Through the eyes of Robertson people have the opportunity to see the ‘truth’ in these highly publicised cases from the perspective of a learned and involved man. Robertson is assumed to be a reliable source of truth by the average reader, because he is a celebrated lawyer and has been chosen to represent people as high profiled as the “Princess of Wales”. The genre and format of the text represent certain qualities to the reader, along with the social status of Robertson which in turn, act to convince them that what is written is true.
“The Trials of Oz” is a case that took place in 1971 against Richard Neville, Jim Anderson, and Felix Dennis, editors of the infamous underground Oz magazine. The controversy arose from the prosecution’s perspective that the material in the magazine was detrimental and corruptive to society of that time. In particular the comic strip satirizing Rupert the Bear elaborately renamed Rupert the Bare, and a small advertisement titled Suck. The prosecution represents the truth through a traditional method of attack that shows Leary’s Victorian image. Brian Leary representing the prosecution draws on the jury’s traditional background to make them empathize with his perspective of the truth that the Oz magazine was an indecent article. Leary discredits witnesses with his “insinuatingly effective” cross- examinations. The defense and Oz magazine were branded as the ‘alternative society’ in order to alienate them in the jury’s mind, and to make the jury feel unwilling to belong to the defence and therefor the ‘alternative society’. The prosecution feels that the ‘alternative society’ has no respect for the accepted values and attitudes of ‘normal society’. The ‘alternative society’ is described to worship sex until it reaches the ultimate stage of “fucking on the streets”. This is an example of the generalisations made which portray the ‘alternative society’ as unattractive and distasteful to be a part of. The Defence on the other hand, use high profiled witnesses and statistics, such as the pornography survey conducted on married couples, to highlight the harmless nature of the Oz magazine. John Mortimer representing the defence, undermines the seriousness of the trial through his permissive attitude towards life. The defence lightens the atmosphere with comical jokes such as when Leary asked Dixon how old he thought Rupert the Bare was, he replied “I’m not an expert in determining Bears’ ages… maybe you are more familiar in the field?” This aids in reducing the seriousness of the accusations. He trivialises the magazine by referring to it as a “schoolboy prank” or “cheeky criticism”, and thus considerably plays down the charges. The language technique of using humour makes the whole trial...
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