JAAP VAN HOEWIJK
PETTY CRIMES & BODILY HARM
Reason is the life of the law
E. Coke , Institutes of the Lawes of England (1641)
These are not court cases surrounded by flamboyant lawyers, tv camera’s, or a packed public gallery. On the contrary. Glamour is absent here, in the small court room of the justice of the peace.
Most of the time the defendant is surrounded by only a judge, a clerk, a lawyer and a prosecutor. The public gallery usually remains empty. Newspapers rarely pay attention to what happens here daily.
This seemingly insignificance beholds a beauty, to me at least. In this room life itself passes by. Shame, regret, denial, bravado, routine, ambition. The courtroom provides a revealing glimpse into the lives of ordinary people. Stories about the human condition. Men and women who have lost the way, who had bad luck, and some who seem incorrigible. People who are not really all that much different from me.
Not that much is needed to end up on the wrong side of the law.
A court of justice mirrors its society.
2 x 55 mins.