Columnists question wisdom of court case televising

THE televising of a courtroom sentencing next week has met with a sceptical response from two of the country’s best-known newspaper columnists.

Both Keith Aitken, in the Scottish Daily Express, and Bill Leckie, in The Scottish Sun, write today of a decision secured by STV, to have the sentencing of David Gilroy recorded for TV coverage later that day.

Gilroy was last month found guilty of the murder of Suzanne Pilley and he is due to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Fearing court cases becoming entertainment, Aitken asks that, if the purpose of the exercise is to allow ‘justice being seen to be done’, then why not film traffic violations or planning applications, rather than high-profile trials?

Adds Leckie: “Trust me, it starts with STV filming the sentencing of murderer, David Gilroy. But it ends with Lord Justice Purple-Nose being replaced by a panel of Clive Anderson, Stephen Fry and Dappy from N-Dubz, while this week’s guest QCs Peter Andre and Lulu argue the fate of a truck driver charged with killing and eating seven Ukranian waitresses.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Record today quotes the vice-chair of the Faculty of Advocates Criminal Bar Association welcoming a reported application by a TV production company to have another trial televised.

Later this month, Nat Fraser is to be retried, accused of the murder of his wife 14 years ago, and yesterday the Record reported: “Windfall Films, a production company hired by Channel 4 to make a documentary about the case, have asked the Scottish Court Service for permission to film in court.”

Brian McConnachie QC is quoted, as saying: “The move to introduce cameras into court is not a bad thing. It will give people a greater insight into the legal system.

“It will be interesting for people to see how things work in real life rather than getting their knowledge from soaps such as Coronation Street.”