Trials of Oz - the Justice Game Essay

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‘The Trials of Oz’ Court as Theatre In the first case, Robertson is not principally involved as counsel for the Oz editors in their obscenity trial. He is just a ‘stage-hand for the defence’. We note the metaphor: a stage-hand is someone who assists at a theatrical production. Robertson frequently recurs to the idea of the court as a theatre and the players in the justice game as actors: Like the squalor behind the splendour of the stage at Convent Garden [the great London opera house], so the solemn ritual of an Old Bailey trial disguised the fact that it was produced in greasepaint and chaos. The solicitors’ clerks who stage-managed the shows would meet to rehearse the cast of the day around the formica tables of the Rex Café…show more content…
That the judge is unaware that Hair is a musical is supposed to suggest how out of touch he is with reality. The cumulative effect of this perspective is that if the judge is hard on the allegedly obscene editors and misrepresents their defence to the jurors, this would only be what you would expect of such a second-rate individual. Robertson’s presentation, based on truth, is heavily influenced by bias and opinion against the judge and, thereby, in favour of the defendants. The eventual verdict of guilty is seen to be inevitable. The editors were sent to prison for psychiatric examination. ‘Reason’ and ‘Sanity’ The voices of ‘reason’ and ‘sanity’, writes Robertson, were outraged and an appeal lodged. First, bail was granted by Justice Griffiths, whose decision was made on the advice of his daughter, ‘a young blonde in a denim jacket and jeans’. The appeal before the Lord Chief Justice succeeded after he was persuaded that Oz paled in comparison, in terms of obscenity, with numerous other publications freely available. Although Oz died from an ‘overdose of publicity’, Robertson makes the telling point that the usual ironic effect of obscenity trials is to heighten public interest in the book or artwork examined. The principal representation of truth in ‘The Trials of Oz’ is Robertson’s detailed presentation of the initial courtroom battle, including lengthy

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