Pilot Sees Cameras Allowed Into Court

TV cameras will be allowed into the Crown Courts for the first time in a new pilot scheme unveiled by the government.

Eight courts have been chosen for the three-month trial, that will involve certain senior judges’ sentencing remarks being filmed by major broadcasters.

Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, the Old Bailey and Southwark have been chosen for the pilot.

Cameras will film only the judge and the Ministry of Justice says measures will be put in place to protect victims and safeguard the administration of justice. The filming of barristers, defendants, staff, victims and witnesses remain forbidden.

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: “My hope is that this will lead to more openness and transparency as to what happens in our courts.

“Broadcasting sentencing remarks would allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words.”

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd added: “I am interested to see how this pilot progresses and will work with the Ministry of Justice to assess the impact of cameras in court.”

Broadcasters BBC, ITN, Sky and the Press Association already film in the Court of Appeal and have agreed to back the pilot at their own expense.

Reporters and members of the public are able to attend Crown Courts proceedings unless otherwise directed by a judge.

However, filming and recording is currently prohibited under the Criminal Justice Act 1925 and the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

 


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