English Criminal Court case aired on TV for the first time


The Old Bailey is seen, ahead of the arrival of Ali Harbi Ali, 25, a suspect in the murder of British MP David Amess, who is due to appear in court, in London, Britain October 22, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON, July 28 (Reuters) – Cameras were allowed to film a criminal case in England and Wales for the first time on Thursday, when the sentencing of a man convicted of manslaughter was broadcast live on television.

The government says the ruling, first promised a decade ago, will give the public a better understanding of the court process.

Filming will be limited to the judge’s remarks about sentencing, and only the judge will appear on camera, with a 10-second delay for live broadcasts.

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The first televised case at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London saw Judge Sarah Munro jail Ben Oliver for life with a minimum jail term of more than 10 years, after he admitted in January to killing his grandfather.

Currently, hearings of the London Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court can be televised, and some cases in Scotland, which operates a separate court system, have been shown since 1992.

Until Thursday, cameras were strictly banned in criminal cases in England and Wales, with footage of hearings limited to sketches created from memory by artists who remain banned from drawing inside the courtroom. audience itself.

Proponents of televising sentencing hearings say it will help show the public why decisions are made, but critics fear further widening to allow trials to be broadcast could lead to sensationalized cases.

Some US courts are allowing broadcasters to film proceedings, allowing the public to watch high-profile criminal trials, and other countries like France are considering allowing cases to be televised.

“Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some of the country’s most serious criminals will improve transparency and build confidence in the justice system,” Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said.

“The public will now be able to see justice done, which will help them better understand the complex decisions that judges make.”

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Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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