Television cameras will be allowed in the Crown Courts in England and Wales

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Media SubtitleFrom inside the Old Bailey, Clive Coleman explains what we can expect once cameras are allowed

Television cameras must be able to film in Crown Courts in England and Wales for the first time.

The new legislation that is being presented to Parliament will allow the comments of judgments of judges in high profile criminal cases to be seen and heard by television and the public online.

However, the trials will not be televised since they are in countries like the US. UU., Since only the judge will be filmed.

The judiciary, broadcasting organizations and the government have welcomed the measure.

A radical change

The legislation will allow, for the first time, that television cameras film judges who issue sentences for murder, sexual crimes, terrorism and other serious high-profile criminal cases in the Crown Courts of England and Wales, including the Old Bailey .

It marks a radical change and a significant extension of the open justice operation, although full trials will not be televised.

In the USA In the United States, the cases that included the 1995 trial of OJ Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and his friend Ron Goldman made television exciting, but sometimes they were criticized for providing a slightly uplifting show.

In England and Wales, the concern has always been that television trials could deter victims, witnesses and jurors, vital teeth in the trial process, of participating.

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The television scenes of the murder trial of OJ Simpson in 1994 will not be played in the United Kingdom

Therefore, the judge will only be seen in the chamber while he or she gives his comments on the sentence. No one else involved in the trial (victims, witnesses, jurors, lawyers or the convicted defendant) will be filmed.

Filming can be “live”, with a short delay to avoid breaking report restrictions or any other errors.

More often it is anticipated that the judge’s sentencing comments will be filmed for use in subsequent news broadcasts.

All Crown Court personnel who will participate in the cases in which the filming takes place will receive training and new guidance.

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The new rules will allow filming only the judge, not anyone else involved in a trial.

Full comments on the judgment of any case transmission will also be hosted on a website to which the public has access.

Legislation should take about three months to reach Parliament, which means that the first transmissions should take place at the end of spring or early summer.

Today’s measure follows a successful three-month pilot who allowed comments on sentences not issued in eight Crown Courts to be filmed.

The Lord President of the Supreme Court, Lord Burnett, said: “It is important that the justice system and what happens in our courts be as transparent as possible.”

“I hope that comments are regularly transmitted in high profile cases, and that will improve public understanding.”

But not everyone has welcomed the measure. The president of the Council of Lawyers, Amanda Pinto, said: “If the public sees the faces of the judges in the living room on television and can identify them more easily, unfortunately they are more likely to be personally attacked and details about they shouldn’t be. ‘

A century of criminalization.

Since 1925 it has been a criminal offense to film, or even sketch in court, so court artists must go out and recall those involved in the trial.

Films were allowed in the United Kingdom Supreme Court since its creation in 2009, and in 2013 cameras were allowed in the Court of Appeals, but the cases in these courts are appeals and are limited to the arguments of the lawyers and the decisions of the judges

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Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett

Today’s announcement marks the first time that cameras will be allowed in the Crown Courts in England and Wales, where serious crimes are tried.

Filming has been allowed in Scottish courts subject to permits and conditions since 1992, but it does not happen so often and the first filming of a sentence in Scotland was in 2012.

Commenting on the change in the law, Secretary of Justice Robert Buckland said: “This government, together with the judiciary, is committed to improving public understanding of our justice system and allowing the cameras to enter the Crown Court will exactly that.

“It will ensure that our courts remain open and transparent and will allow people to see that justice is delivered to the most serious of criminals.”

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