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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 04:52 GMT
'Criminal trials on TV' plans due
Cameras are banned from courtrooms in England and Wales
Plans to allow TV cameras into English and Welsh courts during criminal and civil proceedings are to be published by the Lord Chancellor within weeks.

Lord Falconer aims to set out a "way forward... before the end of the year", a government spokesman said.

But he believes witnesses, defendants and jurors should not be shown.

The move follows a pilot project, in which 24 cases at the Court of Appeal were filmed and shown to ministers and senior members of the judiciary.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs also consulted the public on the idea.

Deter witnesses?

Launching the consultation in November 2004, Lord Falconer said there was a strong case for allowing broadcasters to film cases which did not involve witnesses.

He argued that justice was always better when it was seen to be done.

But at the time he also said he was against televising criminal trials, as it might deter witnesses from giving evidence.

"We don't want our courts turned into US-style media circuses," he said.

Strict conditions

But last year Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC said he had "no objection" to cameras being allowed to film the final sentencing stage of successful prosecutions.

In England and Wales, the only court proceedings currently televised are judgments of the Law Lords, which are read out in Parliament.

Cameras have been allowed in Scottish courts - under strict conditions - for several years.

The scheme, introduced in 1992, permits court cases to be televised if all sides involved give their consent.

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