Old Bailey Farewell to Stenographers

Think of the major criminal trials that have taken place in the Old Bailey since the beginning of the 20th Century: Dr Crippen, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, The Yorkshire Ripper, the Soham Murders… In each and every case the cast list has included, along with judges, journalists, clerks, barristers, and curious members of the public, […]

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’: Evidence Required

The murder of Danny O’Shea in east London last week 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 victim […]

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 […]