Thursday, October 23, 2008
Murder in a Court Room
Around thirty years ago, I watched a Cowboy movie that shows a Sheriff shot to death by the Defendant in the Court room. Until yesterday morning, I believe that such tragic incident can only happen in movies and not in real life. Unfortunately this belief was shattered yesterday after I read an article in Kompas regarding the murder of a spectator of a Trial at the District Court of Central Jakarta. The tragic incident happened in Court room no. 306 at 5.30 pm after the Presiding Judge Martini Maryati closed the Trial of a Homicide Case regarding the murder of the Manager of Hotel Classic i.e Didi Pontoh by the Defendant James Venturi. A friend of the Victim i.e Stanley was stabbed to death and another friend Boy Waroka was badly beaten by the Defendant’s friends who came in large number to watch the Court Trial. After the rampage, the mob left the Court building taking various kinds of public transportation, and leaving behind in the Court room : wooden sticks and sharp objects which they used in the attack. According to a spokesman of the Court this tragedy happened because of two things, First the number of Court’s security guards were so small compared to the numbers of visitors, Secondly, the visitors, mostly friends of the Defendant, came in large numbers and it is not possible to limit them because Court Trials are supposed to be opened to Public.
The above news makes me very sad, because I always think that a Court Building is an “ Excellent Place ” where people can expect to get hope, peace, order and justice. It never crossed my mind that violence or even murder would ever happen in such place. And considering that the function of a Court is to settle disputes among conflicting parties, therefore vulnerable for violence; anticipatory measures should be taken to safe guard the Court. Sufficient & effective method should be used, for example by providing enough guards, police protection & electronic surveillance; visitors should be scrutinized to make sure that they do not bring any kinds of weapons. Moreover, considering the limited capacity of Court rooms, the number of visitors should be limited according to capacity of the rooms. That way the Courts can function optimally, and seekers of justice can have peace of mind.