TV cameras will now be allowed in some criminal courts in England and Wales for the first time from today.
Due to a change in the law, broadcasters will be able to video judges when they sentence dangerous offenders during some criminal trials at the Old Bailey and other Crown Courts.
Unlike in the US and some other countries, broadcasting of the trial as a whole will continue to be prohibited.
Under the new regulations, the BBC, ITN, Sky, and the Press Association can now request to film the final stage of a criminal case, when the judge passes sentence on the convicted criminal.
The move comes nine years after the initial proposals. The first broadcast, which will take place from the Old Bailey, will be about a man who killed his grandfather.
Journalists, juries, victims and their relatives attend sentencing hearings every day, but the general public has no access or exposure to the actual proceedings.
According to the guidelines, every sentencing that is recorded will be posted on YouTube so that viewers can see the judge’s full explanation of the law and justification for each punishment.
As a result of worries that widespread trial telecasting could undermine the validity of the evidence or sensationalise cases, cameras will not be permitted to film the victims, witnesses, or jurors. All other filming in royal courts is still prohibited by law.
Since its establishment in 2010, the Supreme Court in London, which weighs complex issues pertaining to all of UK law, has permitted cameras inside. In 2013, the Court of Appeal followed suit.
Since 1992, Scotland, which has its own legal system, has allowed filming in criminal courts. However, in reality, due to rigorous regulations, very few cases are ever televised.