News channels to be given new freedoms to broadcast sentencing hearings
Broadcasters will be given new freedoms to film and broadcast Crown Court judges’ sentencing remarks, after a new law comes into force tomorrow morning.
The UK’s biggest broadcasters will be given the right to broadcast statements made by Crown Court judges during sentencing hearings, both online and on TV.
Under the new rules, TV news channels will only be allowed to film judges as they make their sentencing remarks after a conviction has been secured, to ensure the privacy of witnesses, victims and jurors is protected.
The new law will give film crews from Sky, BBC, ITN, and the Press Association, record and broadcast judges remarks on TV, if judges grant them permission.
Sky News will also be allowed to broadcast judges’ sentencing statements on a dedicated YouTube channel.
Justice secretary Dominic Raab 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,” Raab said.
All broadcasts will be aired on a 10 second delay, to avoid any errors or breaches of reporting restrictions.
The plan comes as part of the UK government’s wider efforts to digitalise Britain’s courts by putting in place the technology for remote hearings and use of video evidence in rape and sexual assault trials.