An outraged e-mail came in from Dominic Regan early on Saturday morning. Headed “The most stupid comment of the year”, Dominic’s message drew attention to the report in the Times about the Saville Inquiry into the Northern Ireland shootings. The report included a quotation about the Inquiry’s use of technology: “without it, the tribunal would have had to be more focused”. I will not take up space with the exclamation marks with which Dominic followed this.
What do you think the author of this comment meant? Did the tribunal lose sight of its remit because technology was used? If the whole thing had been done from paper, would the tribunal have concentrated more closely? Does technology blur the vision – if so, then a visit to the optician is called for, not a woolly implication that technology encourages loss of focus.
I have binned the paper, and the Times web site is no longer accessible, so I don’t know who made the comment or what weight to attach to it. Its supposed author may have been misquoted. Its context is a negative one, so I assume that a negative meaning was intended. I just don’t know what it does mean.
It is curiously reminiscent of the sort of thing you hear from technology-deniers in other civil procedure contexts – you can just imagine a judge resisting the use of technology in litigation on the grounds that lawyers were much more focused in the days when everything was printed and filed in ring binders and read by eye. Actually, you do not have to imagine it.