Public gives verdict on cameras in court

A public consultation on whether television cameras should be
allowed into courts has come down against filming of victims, witnesses
or jurors.
 
Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer said: “The
consultation has provided a wide range of considered responses, often
heartfelt from individuals and organisations.
 
“Their input has confirmed my very strong view that victims,
witnesses and jurors should not be filmed. There remain powerful
reasons and arguments for protecting them, and the justice process in
general, from the impact of cameras and microphones in court.
 
“I am not announcing any further conclusions or proposals at this
stage.”
 
The public’s views on whether court proceedings should be broadcast
were published by today.

There were 259 responses to a consultation paper, published by the
Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) last November.

In addition, a six-week pilot scheme for filming cases in the Court
of Appeal ran alongside the consultation and began in the Royal
Courts of Justice on 16 November 2004.

 
The pilot not-for-broadcast footage, comprised mock news items and documentaries using courtroom
material. It was presented by national broadcasters to Ministers, the
senior judiciary and legal professional bodies.
 
The responses to the consultation are divided roughly into two
groups:
 
* Those who favour broadcasting court proceedings do so mainly on the
grounds of public accessibility and scrutiny. Most base their support
for broadcasting around principles of open justice, but some are
clearly influenced by the belief that they suffered injustice as a
result of the conduct of their case by lawyers, the judge or the
court system in general. In their view, these experiences would have
been exposed or prevented if proceedings were broadcast.
 
* Those opposed to broadcasting court proceedings expressed strong
concerns about the protection of participants, the right to a fair
trial and the integrity of the UK judicial system. Some based their
response on their own experience as a participant in proceedings,
especially as a witness, or expressed their concern at the prospect
of being a participant in a broadcast trial. Many others felt that
television was synonymous with entertainment and were worried about
the effects televising might have on proceedings.
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