Cameras may be allowed in courts

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The Independent Online

Proposals on the televising of criminal trials are to be published by the Lord Chancellor within weeks.

Lord Falconer aimed to set out a "way forward" on allowing cameras into courts for the first time "before the end of the year", a spokesman said. But he remained convinced that neither witnesses, defendants nor jurors should be shown on television, the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) said.

Mock television footage from a six-week pilot at the Court of Appeal in 2004 was shown to ministers and senior members of the judiciary, and a public consultation was held at the same time. A DCA spokesman said: "Lord Falconer aims to make an announcement on the way forward for broadcasting in courts before the end of the year.

"The consultation in 2004/5 provided a wide range of views. The response confirmed Lord Falconer's very firm view that witnesses, defendants and jurors should not be filmed."

Defendants' faces could be blurred unless they agreed to have their features shown, and footage could be pooled to avoid having multiple cameras in court.

The director of public prosecutions, Ken Macdonald, said last year that he had no objection to cameras being allowed to film the final sentencing stage of successful prosecutions.