STV in Scots Courtroom First

The sentencing of a convicted murderer is to be filmed for almost immediate use by news outlets, in a courtroom first for Scotland.

STV has successfully applied to broadcast the sentencing of David Gilroy who was last month found guilty of the murder of Suzanne Pilley.

It is understood the cameras will be trained only on the judge during the sentencing.

In a report on STV News this evening, David Cowan said there have been instances in the past when courtroom footage has been used by broadcasters, but in documentaries used some time after sentencing.

This footage is a first, however, because it will be made available for broadcast within hours. 

Says a news report on the STV website: “Filming will commence when Gilroy’s lawyer has concluded his plea in mitigation next Wednesday and the footage will be made available to news outlets immediately afterwards via satellite feed.”

Added a STV spokesperson: “This is the first time in the UK that TV news cameras have been allowed to film a sentencing in a criminal court; and we’re pleased that STV has been instrumental in making that happen. This development will allow viewers a rare insight into the closing stages of what has been a very controversial murder case.”

Update: April 11: A leader comment in The Scotsman, arguing that broadcasting restrictions perhaps should be relaxed on a more permanent basis, says: “Cameras have filmed court proceedings that have been later broadcast before. But this is the most serious and high-profile criminal case where filming for broadcast has been allowed. The public-interest case for allowing this is substantial.

“Indeed, the public interest also raises questions about whether the rules of broadcast in criminal proceedings are too restrictive and ought to be relaxed further. This is not a matter of prurient sensationalism occasioned by this particular case, but a straightforward consideration that the means of communication through which the public learn all manner of proceedings in their name have changed markedly.”