Cameras allowed in court again as BBC films second Scottish murder appeal

The BBC will on Friday take its cameras into a Scottish court for the second time in as many weeks.

This Friday, BBC Scotland will film judges’ announcement of their ruling in the case of Luke Mitchell, who is appealing a 2003 murder conviction.

The BBC says will make the footage of available to other broadcasters and media outlets.

Last week, the BBC News website published a video showing judges announcing their decision in another murder appeal. In an unusual exception to usual court reporting rules, the judges had allowed cameras in the courtroom.

“A number of their lordships, we were told, were keen to demystify the work of the courts and make what goes on there more transparent,” Mark Coyle of BBC Scotland wrote on BBC News’s blog The Editors.

“Certain ground rules were laid down in advance. We were only able to show the three judges and we could not show Fraser or any of the lawyers involved in the case.”

The footage of the that case, in which Nat Fraser has lost his appeal against a life jail term for killing his wife, has been viewed online more than 14,000 times, the BBC said today.

BBC Scotland head of news and current affairs Atholl Duncan, said: “Through our online site, and our TV and radio coverage, we have allowed a significant number of people to see and hear the judgement as if they were in court.

“We believe this is an important development for BBC Scotland journalism and for the Scottish courts.

“We intend to deal with the Luke Mitchell appeal in a similar way, ensuring an accurate and balanced view of what occurred in court and allowing the audience access to the judges’ full explanation of their decision.”

Embedding video clips, like those used in the Fraser case, directly into BBC News web story pages has helped increase the plays and daily unique users of multimedia content by more than 50 per cent, the Corporation said this week.

The BBC News website now records 762,000 daily unique users of audio and video, up from 528,000. Average daily plays of content have increased from 636,000 to 978,000, the Corporation claimed.

Click-throughs, a measure of how frequently readers chose to access multimedia content, is up from an average of 2.5 per cent to 20 per cent, the BBC said, and on some stories it is as high as 90 per cent.

Successful videos have included footage of the Burma cyclone with 248,000 views on 6 May, the BBC exposing a Facebook security flaw with 303,000, and Ronnie O’Sullivan’s 147 break at the World Snooker championship with 157,143.

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