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Criminal trials can now be televised under new English laws

(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new law has just come into action allowing TV cameras to broadcast from the Crown Court for the first time In England. Only the sentencing and explanation will be televised and the camera will be fixed on the judge so that none of the victims, jurors, lawyers or witnesses are seen. 

The first broadcast from Crown Court will take place on 4 August at the Old Bailey for the verdict of Ben Oliver’s trial who plead guilty to manslaughter after stabbing his grandfather to death. It‘s expected recordings will be no longer than half an hour but this is a step in the right direction for the court system.

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While courts are open to the public most have very few seats for people to attend so the only way people can know what’s going on is through courtroom sketches and court reporters. In a press release posted to the Gov.UK website (opens in new tab), the Lord Chancellor said, “Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some of the country’s most serious offenders will improve transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system. The public will now be able to see justice handed down, helping them understand better the complex decisions judges make.”

This decision has been welcomed by both broadcasters and lawyers and Joe Pickover, Head of Video at PA Media said it is a crucial milestone, giving us access to film judges’ sentencing remarks in Crown Courts for the first time. Audiences across the UK will gain a much better understanding of the criminal process by witnessing the judicial system first hand and PA is delighted to be playing its part in this vital development”

There will be a 10-second delay on all broadcasts to avoid televising any violent or obscene outbursts toward the judge, jurors, witnesses or victims. This new legislation was first passed in 2020 under The Crown Court Recording and Broadcasting Order 2020 and recordings will be broadcast via a dedicated Sky News channel on YouTube.

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Hannah Rooke

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.