Televise more court cases says law chief

Scotland’s top government law officer wants to see more court cases televised, writes Hamish Mackay.

Lord
Advocate Colin Boyd, QC, said making the legal system more open would
help change the public’s perception of so-called “soft sentencing” –
but seeks strict controls on the kind of cases that would be broadcast.

The law chief believes cameras could help to increase transparency and reassure the public over the quality of sentencing. However, he pointed out: “There is a real issue about actual trials. The issue is witnesses playing to the camera.

It can affect the behaviour of people. “It
is one thing for witnesses to prepare themselves to give evidence in a
courtroom which may be packed, but it is very different if their
testimony is televised into the homes of their neighbours.”

He also warned against a US-style system where televised court cases can become a major media event.

Boyd said: “The OJ Simpson trial was a telling example of what can go wrong with television coverage.”

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