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. […]

On Racist Murders

The murder of Danny O’Shea in east London last week has highlighted one particularly divisive issue – when can you classify a murder as racially aggravated? There have been questions – particularly from what you might call ‘right wing organisations’ such as the BNP – as to what exactly distinguishes the murder of a black […]

Contempt of Court: Open Justice?

The idea behind the 1981 Contempt of Court Act was pretty honourable. Everybody deserves a fair trial and to have their guilt decided by a jury rather than be convicted by the ‘Press’. Since then it has come under increasing pressure from the right to freedom of expression, first in the printed media and more […]

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 […]

Sam Hallam: A Miscarriage of Justice?

There’s a famous quote from the film Shawshank Redemption, when the main character Andy Dufresne tells another prison inmate: ‘Everybody in here’s innocent. Didn’t you know that?’ So when a young man convicted of murder steps forward and strongly protests his innocence, it’s often hard to keep an open mind. It’s still harder to accept […]

Off the Map: The death of Charles Bunyasi

The recent death of Charles Bunyasi began as a murder investigation but will now ‘drop off the map’. Why? Because it no longer counts as a homicide. Mr Bunyasi (right) was run over by his own van after it was stolen by a thief. The exact circumstances are unclear but detectives have charged the suspect […]