John Terry racism trial: Day One and Twitter has already played it's part
Day one of the court case between Anton Ferdinand and John Terry saw evidence giving in the chamber and opinions given on the internet. With the emergence of the Twitter culture, sports and football followers around the world are given a minute by minute account of the action.
With the anticipation building and the “media scrum outside Westminster Magistrates” (@danroan) forming, Anton’s brother and decorated English footballer took to Twitter to voice his support for his brother. “Morning all! Frazzled head this morning, school run done! @anton_ferdinand head high” (@rioferdy5). This blurring of the boundaries between the private and public life of the courts has intrigued many sports writers with The Guardian journalist David Banks' suggestion that “it is only a matter of time before a tweet lands someone in the dock for contempt of court”. It seems that comments which would have gone unnoticed by the general public are now given a gigantic foot up via the power of the social network and those who already hold a large public following become influential in the jury of the public. After Rio Ferdinand’s introduction to the court case on twitter, the official proceedings began with BBC sports correspondent Dan Roan (@danroan) reporting that the “defence confirms the plea of not guilty remains”, this was probably the most unpredictable tweet of the day.
The case slowly developed as the Sky News Crime correspondent Martin Brunt (@skymartinbrunt) reports the basis to the entire case in which the “prosecution says Terry called Ferdinand a "f****** black c*** in response to a slur about his alleged affair with a team mates wife”. This was then followed by video evidence presented by the prosecution. Martin Brunt then tweeted that the prosecution explained how Terry does not deny using the words but says they were "sarcastic exclamation or inquiry to a perceived false accusation". Dan Roan (@danroan) then reports on the evidence of Anton Ferdinand aiming insults towards John Terry in which the court concludes that Based on lip-reading evidence, Crown says Ferdinand said to Terry: "Oi you shagging ya mates missus" - accompanied by 'fist gesture'. The case then continues to delve into evidence dating back to October last year until we reach a point in which that Dan Roan (@danroan) reports that “AF says he wanted the FA to deal with the issue, rather than the police & and denies trying to get Terry charged over the matter” . Day one of the case then comes to an end with Dan Roan tweeting the defence’s last statement in which as he puts it “Defence in effect accusing AF of deliberately falsely accusing JT of racial abuse on the pitch in order to provoke a reaction”.
Throughout the day, nothing particularly new came to the forefront of the case that has gripped journalists and sports fanatics alike however with the added element of constant running commentary similar to that of which you would expect on a busy Saturday afternoon, the added element of twitter allows us to look at how the courts are now mixed with public intrigue and the private matter of the law. It may be the case that no court case is now hidden from the private eye but should those who hold the key to millions of followers be able to undermine the power of the courts? Or is this just freedom of speech in which those regardless of their platform should be able to voice their views. One more tweet came in from Rio Ferdinand during the day. (@rioferdy5) “Film of the day: Liar Liar....starring Jim Carey. What a film!!”. Is the just an example of a film enthusiast, or a social superpower voicing to the millions who follow, his thoughts on the case?