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Cameras To Be Allowed Into Old Bailey For First Time

Judges' sentencing remarks will be filmed as part of a pilot scheme seven other crown courts are taking part in too.

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Cameras will be allowed into eight crown courts, including the Old Bailey, for the first time in a pilot scheme announced by the government and the judiciary.

The sentencing remarks of senior judges will be filmed for three months under plans to be brought before parliament.

As well as the Old Bailey, where some of the most high-profile criminal trials in England and Wales are held, crown courts in Southwark, Manchester Crown Square, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff will take part in the scheme.

However, none of the footage will be broadcast until its impact can be assessed.

Justice minister Shailesh Vara said: “My hope is that this will lead to more openness and transparency as to what happens in our courts.

“Broadcasting sentencing remarks would allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words."

Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, the head of the judiciary in England and Wales, added: “I am interested to see how this pilot progresses and will work with the Ministry of Justice to assess the impact of cameras in court.”

Only judges will be filmed, and a Ministry of Justice spokesperson said “safeguards will be put in place to make sure victims continue to be supported and the administration of justice is not affected".

Filming has been permitted in the Court of Appeal since 2013, while supreme court proceedings have been filmed since it was set up in 2009. In Scotland meanwhile some court proceedings can be filmed under certain circumstances

All courts are normally open to the public but filming and recording is prohibited under section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 and the Contempt of Court Act 1981.

Matthew Champion is a weekend editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Champion at matthew.champion@buzzfeed.com.

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