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The London judge who is hearing the extradition case of murder suspect Shrien Dewani has ordered that the use of Twitter in the courtroom is admissable, providing that the tweeting “is unobtrusive, doesn’t interrupt proceedings and is accurate”.
Dewani is an English businessman accused of plotting the murder of his wife while on honeymoon in South Africa.
This is an international story where popular sentiment and opinion have played a key role — and social networking services like Twitter could prove to play an influential part. Dewani has hired the outspoken international celebrity publicist Max Clifford to manage the media on his behalf.
The issue around Twitter arose when Dewani’s lawyer, Julian Knowles, suggested the social network should be banned from the courtroom, saying “I know the media get very excited about Facebook and Twitter but there have been all sorts of leaks (in this case) and I think the time has come to put a stop to it’.’
The media had asked the judge for permission to tweet at the beginning of the trial, and permission had been granted. When the judge ruled that the presence of Twitter may actually “increase accuracy” in the trial, Dewani’s lawyer shot back “In 140 characters?” – much to the amusement of the assembled crowd.
The debate around Twitter in the courtroom is likely to rage for some time, particularly as the pressure on the trial heats up.
The Dewani trial has been a hot topic on Twitter and Facebook with users around the world tweeting their two cents worth about the trial.
FKhan123 writes: “Dewani: or trail by twitter I guess!!”
“So many on twitter think they’re “experts” on the #Dewani case.Sounds like these “experts” have nothing better to do than to spread hatred,” writes nadabrahmaUK.