A Brief History of Cameras in Court

Earlier this month Sky, ITN and the BBC lobbied the government to allow cameras in court. The hope is that criminal trials could be televised as early as early as 2015. The ban on taking photographs goes back to 1925 but even before then cameras had to be smuggled into courtrooms in hats or bags. […]

The Jury: Perverting the Course of Justice

Forget the legal inaccuracies, the irrelevant sub-plots and the intrusive commercial breaks. What really killed off ITV’s The Jury was a lack of confidence in courtroom drama. It looked promising enough. Written by the Oscar-nominated author of Frost/Nixon and The Queen, Peter Morgan, the drama was screened over five consecutive days and starred Julie Walters […]

UK Crime Map

The new police crime map (police.uk) is the third version to hit the internet since January 2009. Earlier attempts didn’t particularly excite the interest of the public. This time the site buckled under the pressure of 18 million hits an hour. So what’s different? Unlike previous incarnations (see the Met’s borough and ward crime map […]

How to Name a Serial Killer

Every report of the case of serial killer Stephen Griffiths referred to him as the ‘Crossbow Cannibal’. But where did this name come from? Griffiths gave this name when making his first court appearance before Magistrates in May 2010. He didn’t come up with it himself – because it had already featured in a headline in the Sun […]

A Literary Graph of Murder

What does this graph tell us? It’s meant to show the frequency of the terms murder and homicide in English books from the time of ‘Jack the Ripper’ to the present day. The answer is probably ‘not much’ – apart from showing that murder is used much more often (in those books that have been […]

21st Century Court Reporting

Reports that legal history had been made by a judge allowing the use of Twitter in open court for an extradition hearing in London sparked a few earth-shattering predictions. Was this the end of court reporting as we know it? Could this be ‘possibly the final nail in the coffin of shorthand’? Will court hearings soon be televised? […]

Violence in Films and Computer Games: Guest Blog

Does the portrayal of violence in the media affect human behaviour? Should we be concerned about violence in computer games, books and film? These questions are being asked more often as games in particular grow ever more realistic. The US Supreme Court recently debated whether video games are worse than films and books because they […]