North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has today (Wednesday 18thy April) returned to his attack on proposals to televise the law courts in the light of an experimental televising of a Judge`s sentencing in a Scottish court.
“I remain of the view” says Sir Roger “that this is potentially the thin end of a very undesirable wedge. We are being led to believe that “all that will be shown” is some dry-as-dust legal procedures but we know from experience that it will not stop there.
This campaign, orchestrated by some Television Broadcasters, owes much more to Entertainment and sensationalism than it does to the claimed “promotion of democracy” and “access to justice”.
The Justice Secretary has already indicated, in response to my written parliamentary question, that no taxpayer`s money will be spent on this exercise. That means that the funding will have to come either from the broadcasters, who will literally call the shots, or from commercial sponsors, which would be equally undesirable.
I have already been offered anecdotal evidence, from an American cameraman, of the way in which the presence of cameras in courts has changed justice in the USA and the experience of the Brevik trial in Norway, in which cameras have had to be removed from the courts, indicates the ease with which the media can be manipulated and grandstanding can take place.
I believe that in the interests of Justice this is a proposal that must be resisted now, before it is too late.” (ENDS)