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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 03:05 GMT 04:05 UK


Woodward on trial by TV

An image that was transmitted worldwide: Louise Woodward reacts to the verdict

The former nanny Louise Woodward is to appear before the UK's media executives and give her verdict on televising court trials.

Although on this occasion, she is reported to have banned television and radio stations from covering the debate.

Her appearance will be in front of 900 executives, programme makers and producers at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.

The 20-year-old from Cheshire will tell them about the strain of having her trial for the killing of baby Matthew Eappen televised each day.

Invite accepted

Miss Woodward and her lawyer Barry Scheck have accepted an invitation to speak on the topic of televised trials at the end of this year's festival.

Organisers said the aim is to have a serious discussion on what televising courtrooms in the UK would mean, and not to re-hash the facts of Miss Woodward's trial.

But Miss Woodward accepted it would be an open debate, advisory chair Ruth Pitt said.

Trial on television

Miss Woodward was scrutinised throughout her American trial for the murder of a baby, her subsequent appeal and the final ruling which found her guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Every aspect of the case was closely examined as television cameras searched for details of her expression and what she was wearing.

The daily televised sessions became compulsive viewing as audiences switched on in the UK and other countries to see how she was bearing up under the pressure.

Even the performance of her team of lawyers was compared with those of the prosecution.

And her parents were featured as they sat anxiously with friends in the back of the Boston courtroom.

And her cries of anguish as the first hearing found her guilty were broadcast around the world to millions of television viewers.





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