Decision to allow judges’ sentencing remarks to be broadcast welcomed by national broadcasters

Press Release on behalf of broadcasters ITN, Sky and BBC

This is a landmark moment and an important day for open justice and transparency of our legal system.

For the first time the public will see images of proceedings in the Crown Court on television news.  The public will be the main beneficiary of this reform which will give greater effect to the principle of justice being seen to be done. The change will help a wider audience to see and understand the criminal justice process for themselves.

Filming of sentencing will be allowed in Crown Courts throughout England and Wales, including the Old Bailey. The cameras will be focused on the judge. Filming is not allowed of the defendant or the lawyers and there will be no images of witnesses giving evidence.  News and current affairs programmes will be able to show the images but not entertainment or comedy programmes.

This change has been made after years of campaigning by ITN, Sky News and the BBC. A pilot study in the Crown Court has been carried out by the broadcasters.

The broadcasters welcome this reform which we anticipate will lead to increased coverage of court proceedings in both national and regional news programmes.

Filming in the courts of England and Wales is presently banned under the Criminal Justice Act 1925 except in the Court of Appeal and The Supreme Court.

ITN Head of Compliance, John Battle: “Broadcasters ITN, Sky News and the BBC have campaigned over many years to allow TV news audiences to see Crown Court proceedings. This reform will enhance the reporting of criminal justice and improve the public’s understanding of the courts. It is a great day for open justice”.

Head of Sky News, John Ryley: “The filming of judges sentencing remarks in the crown courts is a great day for transparency in our courts. This is a further step in helping the public to understand the constraints under which judges work and the complexities of many of the biggest criminal cases. This has been a long campaign by the three main broadcasters working together”.

BBC Director of News and Current Affairs Fran Unsworth said: “Today’s announcement comes after a great campaign by the BBC, ITN and Sky to allow filming of judges’ sentencing remarks in Crown Courts and is a momentous day for transparency in our justice system. By opening up the courts, our audiences will be able to further their understanding of the criminal justice system and witness the judicial process for themselves.”

 

Contact: John Battle, ITN head of compliance on john.battle@itn.co.uk

 

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