COURT reporting is an interesting part of what we do. People are curious. Everyone wants to know, for example, what the police helicopter was doing, hovering over Grays for a half hour yesterday (police pursuit ended in Bridge Road, three arrested). Today, the headlines are full of speculation as to what Jon Venables has been doing.
Here at YourThurrock, when we attend court, we strive to focus on some form of positive light. That might sound like some bleedin’ heart liberal but, for us, it has to be part of the balanced approach to journalism.
Yesterday, at Grays Youth Court, a sixteen-year-old (who cannot be named for legal reasons) applied to have his probation order revoked. The young man attended with both parents (which may well be a first). The presiding magistrate, Judge David Cooper, listened, while the court heard that since he was sentenced in December 2008, he had stayed out of trouble and his behaviour had been exemplary. Judge Cooper did not hesitate to revoke the order and congratulate the young man and wish him and his parents.
Our point is: why not report that? We appreciate that it is hardly headlines. If a young reporter returned to their office and said this was the only story they had from court, their editor would chew their ear off.
This is a genuinely good news story for Thurrock. You had to be there. The delight in the parent’s face. The hope and belief that this will be the last time, this young man will ever darken the door of Grays Magistrates, was clear for all to see.
Yes, we stepped out of the court and then the phone rang. A complaint about hypodermic needles outside Grays Park and then the chopper hovered overhead but meanwhile, proud parents and a young man strode proudly into the spring sunshine, away from all that.