Cameras to show judges sentencing Britain's biggest cases in moment of legal history

27 July 2022, 20:49

Cameras will film Old Bailey sentencings
Cameras will film Old Bailey sentencings. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Will Taylor

Cameras will be allowed to broadcast a sentencing at the Old Bailey in a moment that will make legal history.

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A judge will be filmed as she sentences a man for the manslaughter of his grandfather, and it will be carried across a range of news organisations.

The law was changed to allow cameras inside courts – something that has been banned for a long time – in 2020, but Covid has delayed their addition.

Only judges will be filmed during their sentencing remarks, so audiences will not see victims, witnesses and jurors.

Judges use their sentencing remarks to sum up parts of the case and to explain why they are giving punishments to criminals – allowing the public to understand why a crook gets their sentence.

The Old Bailey – otherwise known as the Central Criminal Court – is a famous court in London that often hears some of the biggest cases, such as terror trials.

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Dominic Raab, the deputy prime minister and justice secretary, said: "Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some the country's most serious offenders will improve transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system.

"The public will now be able to see justice handed down, helping them understand better the complex decisions judges make."

Lord Burnett of Maldon, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, did not believe the addition would compromise the court proceedings: "The broadcasting of the sentencing remarks will focus solely on the judge who will be sitting in court in the normal way, wearing his or her robes in the normal way. The solemnity of the proceedings are preserved entirely."

But he did not back televising full trials.

Ben Oliver, 25, of Bexleyheath, has admitted the manslaughter of David Olvier, 74, in Mottingham, South London.