TV cameras 'could film crown court sentences'

Scales of justice
Image caption The government believes filming will 'improve transparency'

TV cameras could be allowed to film sentencing in crown courts in England and Wales under government plans to expand the scheme.

Initially broadcasters will be able to film the Court of Appeal from October.

Justice Minister Damian Green said the government had "a view to extending this to sentencing decisions in the Crown court in due course."

Cameras have been allowed in Scottish courts since 1992 but only if all parties have given their consent.

Crown courts deal with serious criminal cases such as murder, rape or robbery, and trials are heard by a judge and a 12-person jury.

Proceedings in the Supreme Court - the final court of appeal - can already be filmed, and later this year lawyers' arguments and judges' rulings in appeal cases will also be allowed to be filmed.

Mr Green said: "We believe televising court proceedings will help improve transparency and bring greater public confidence and understanding of the criminal justice system.

"We are working with broadcasters to ensure that any costs from broadcasting are not met from the public purse.

"Subject to passage through Parliament we intend to allow broadcasting from the Court of Appeal from October 2013, with a view to extending this to sentencing decisions in the Crown court in due course."

In Scotland a review of the filming policy was announced late last year, as Scotland's most senior judge said technology had changed dramatically in the 20 years since broadcasters were first allowed to televise some proceedings.

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