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Barristers ‘support court filming’

Barristers ‘support court filming’

Nearly two in three barristers support plans to allow filming in courts, as long as measures are taken to protect witnesses and jurors, a survey has revealed.

The majority of the 700 barristers quizzed by the Times and Bar Council feel that cameras should be allowed into courts for appeals and criminal trials in England and Wales.

This comes after Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke confirmed earlier this year that a ban on filming in court as stipulated by the Criminal Justice Act 1925 would be overturned as part of "unprecedented plans to improve transparency".

Filming will be restricted to judges' remarks, with filming of comments made by victims, witnesses, defendants or jurors still prohibited.

Peter Lodder, QC, chairman of the Bar, said: "I am not surprised by the findings of the survey. However it endorses the importance of ensuring that witnesses, who already find giving evidence an ordeal are protected.

"People are unnerved about going to court. If they feel that by going to court they are also going to be filmed, there is a significant risk that they will not go at all."

He added: "Public trust in the criminal justice system may be enhanced by the broadcasting of sentencing remarks. All sentencing decisions are explained fully, but the full extent of the judge's remarks is often unreported."

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