Concerns raised about allowing TV cameras into courts

FEARS that TV cameras in law courts might lead to the ‘Hollywood-isation’ of the criminal justice system in Scotland have been reportedly raised at a committee of the Scottish Parliament.

It followed the justice committee taking evidence from several well-known lawyers and journalists, in an information-gathering exercise that will help inform a debate in the main Parliament chamber scheduled for later this month.

The committee was looking into the role of the media in criminal trials.

High-profile criminal defence lawyer, Aamer Anwar (pictured), is reported by the Daily Record website to have said, this morning: “With the greatest respect to the media saying they have a genuine interest, [its] genuine interest is not concern for justice. [Its] genuine interest is getting the cameras in there and opening the floodgates to the Hollywood-isation of our courts.”

Reportedly as sceptical was Donald Findlay QC, who is said to have raised concerns about social media and blogs and the risk of contempt of court.

Among the others who addressed the committee were STV’s Helen Arnot, head of legal and regulatory affairs, and Matt Roper, digital news editor.

Also in attendance were Alistair Bonnington, former principal solicitor at BBC Scotland; Magnus Linklater, former Scotland editor at The Times; and Steven Raeburn, editor of Scots legal magazine, The Firm.

There were several others, including serving and former police officers.

In an article earlier this year and presented as a written submission to the committee, Raeburn says: “…whilst the quality of much of what is offered up by television as entertainment can be challenged, the maturity of the medium itself, and its potential, are tried, tested and woefully under-exploited.”

Pic: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament