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Fathers Battling Injustice

Some tips about court transcripts and protecting yourself

Posted By: Court Watcher
Date: Saturday, 2 October 2004, at 3:32 a.m.

Court reporters & Transcripts

As many people already know, a greater level of accountability and Justice can be achieved by having a court reporter in the court and in addition, to tape record the proceedings on your own high quality tape recordings. Although other less expensive means (such as videotape) could provide much better account of court proceedings at a much less cost to parties, the system does not want to have video in family court as it would show the kind of lies an dirty politics that go on in these morally corrupt family courtrooms. The lawyers and the judges don’t want this to happen. Unfortunately, for now, written accounts by court reporters is all we get officially. But even with court reporters and transcripts, parties must be wary.

In court, the court reporter is actually taking an audio tape recording of the proceedings in the court. The court reporter will then make written transcripts from the audio tape recordings. Audio recordings are usually retained for about 5 years before they are discarded although they will thrown them out sooner if there are things said by the judge that the judge would not want the public to hear. Arranging to get rid of official court transcripts is how the system protects itself.

Lost court transcripts

Court transcripts have been known to have gone missing. Some parents have reported that when judges have said things in court that were not appropriate, that transcripts have gone missing or that there were “technical difficulties” with the recordings. That it why it is always advisable to have witnesses in court ready to support what was said in court should transcripts go “missing” If court tapes go missing which prevent the production of official transcripts then you must a complaint letter off to all the MP’s in Canada through one of the fax services. Even lawyers have spoken off the record about missing court tapes but most lawyers will not say anything about this as they will lose their respect by the judges and likely end of losing most of their cases in the future. The system keeps members of the bar in check by this form of intimidation.

Altered court transcripts

Some people who have been in court, including lawyers, have reported that court transcripts have been altered to the benefit of one of the parties or to cover up something the judge may have said in the court that most would consider inappropriate. Lawyers have reported knowing that this goes on but are afraid to report it as their clients will be blackballed by the court in future court proceedings. One lawyer from Toronto who suspected that the transcripts were being altered in a Toronto court, was told to not pursue the issue by court officials. This lawyer was afraid of the repercussions on her future cases before the court so decided not to pursue the issue.

Should you feel that there were some very positive things said on the record that could be of benefit later, then you should order the transcripts quickly and you should pressure on the court to have the transcripts ready as quickly as possible in order to lessen the opportunity for court officials to alter tapes. It does take a bit of technical expertise to alter electronic tapes, so court officials need time to do this. That is why it is important to order transcripts quickly and to push for delivery of them ASAP. You should note that the personal recording of the court procedures and the presence of witnesses in the court will help to minimize the possibility of court tapes being illegally altered by court officials.

If you have obtained transcripts and you feel that they do not represent what was actually said in court, then you should file a formal complaint to the court and ask that you be allowed to review the actual audio tape with the court reporter. If you are given the run around about listening to the tape then file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office, but most importantly, send your complaint to every MP in the country with your complaint. You must complain and be as loud as you can because if you do not fight for justice then the system will only continue to screw you as well as others.

Ordering transcripts prior to a decision may help to promote Justice

In some cases, a hearing or trial may finish and the judge may decide to reserve his/her decision until a later date. Usually a reserved decision means that either the judge does not want to face one of the parties in person in the court or the judge has a very difficult time to make the decision he/she wants to make.

If you feel that things said in court during your hearing or trial were favourable, but that the judge has still chosen to reserve his/her decision, then order the transcripts ASAP after court and before the judge's decision. The judge will likely be made aware of the request for transcripts which will cause the judge some concern as this will indicate that you are very determined to carry the battle to whatever level is needed to ensure justice. Transcripts also ensure that everything said in court is available to be scrutinized closely. To appeal a judge’s ruling, one also needs to have the transcripts so ordering the transcripts also sends the message, that you likely have the resources to continue to a possible appeal. Next to bad publicity which affects their reputation, judges do not want to have their rulings overturned by a higher court. The more willing you appear to take things right to the end, the more likely will the judge rule in your favour if the evidence in your case is very good.

Personal tape recording and courtroom witnesses are your best protection against altered court tapes

Always remember that the best protection against falsified court transcripts is to tape record your own hearing with your own tape recorder and to have witnesses in the court taking notes.

A fascinating case of a fraudulently altered court transcript.