Crown Court Sentencing Remarks to be Televised – Does this really make the system more transparent?

The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020, draft legislation laid before the Government yesterday, allows the sentencing remarks of Judges in the Crown Courts in England and Wales to be filmed and broadcast to the public for the first time.

There has been a three month pilot which allowed sentencing remarks to be filmed in eight Crown Courts, although these were not broadcast.  Sentencing remarks are already reported, but in writing not visually.

It is expected that only the Judge will be visible and only their sentencing remarks will be broadcast.  Trials will not be televised as they are in other countries.  Others involved in the process such as witnesses will not be filmed as it is thought that this may deter them from coming forward.  It is anticipated that there will be a short time delay between filming and broadcasting to ensure that reporting restrictions are complied with.

It is thought that televising Judges sentencing remarks will help the public to better understand the Criminal Justice System and will help to make the system more transparent.  However, only a select part of proceedings will be televised.  Does this really make the system more transparent?

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