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Thursday, 19 April 2012

Getting lawyers on the telly!

I have spoken before about the importance of open justice. Not only should justice be done, it should be seen to be done. This is why I am so strongly against any proposals for secret courts. So it is encouraging to see that cameras have finally beeb allowed in a UK court. Scottish TV station STV, yesterday, broadcast Lord Bracadale as he gave killer David Kilroy a life sentence for murder. The moment was televised as it was felt to be in the public interest.

This comes after other recent developments have seen the court permitting tweeting from court –

There is always a risk that televising court proceedings can turn them into a floor-show for defendants or even lawyers! And I have to admit that I followed the OJ Simpson and Louise Woodward Trials as if they were soap operas.

But this does not make it wrong. Indeed it emphasises that the public do want to see justice in action.

Our Courts are often seen as strange and distant places where a strange language is spoken and fancy dress is worn.

The opening of the courts to old and new media can only help dispel these wrong ideas. Similar false ideas find their way into our thinking by the way the legal process is sometimes dramatised on TV. So let’s have the real thing instead.

Of course, there will always be cases of particular sensitivity where a judge will feel that it is not appropriate. But that decision should be one for the judge. Otherwise the sooner we see justice being done, the better.

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