Oscar Pistorius trial raises questions about televised proceedings, warns Lord Chief Justice

The dramatic scenes witnessed across the world at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial have raised concerns about filming legal proceedings, the Lord Chief Justice has warned.

Lord Thomas, head of the judiciary in England and Wales, told the Lords constitution committee he was "very troubled by what has happened in South Africa" and called for a "pause" before making any more decisions about televised trials.

The ongoing murder trial against the South African athlete has ignited a global media frenzy and viewers have watched an emotional Pistorius break down at the sight of graphic evidence, crying and vomiting in court.

His dramatic outbursts have been called into question by chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who suggested the athlete turned to crying to avoid tough questions about the night he shot and killed his girlfriend.

Last month, the athlete's legal team was forced to issue a statement denying Pistorius took acting classes ahead of his murder trial following accusations that he was faking his tears for the cameras.

 

Lord Thomas' comments come after Keir Starmer, former Director of Public Prosecutions, predicted that cameras could broadcast live from criminal courts in Britain "within the next five years".

He told the Daily Mail: "The principle is open justice and there's a disconnect between the fact we've got a right to walk into any court but it can't be screened. Most people don't have the time to go to court and therefore they don't know what's going on in courts.

"And it is odd that I suspect in most households the legal system in Italy because of the Amanda Knox case, in South Africa because of the Pistorius case and then the US because of OJ Simpson are better known than their own legal systems."

Mr Starmer suggested that making televised trials the norm would remove the sensationalist element seen in recent high profile cases such as the Max Clifford trial.

Arguments and remarks made by lawyers and judges can be filmed at the Court of Appeal, but victims and defendants are not shown. Hearings at the Supreme Court are also televised.

Cameras are not allowed in Crown Courts and Magistrates' courts.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high