Cameras in the courtroom: Murder trial filmed for groundbreaking documentary

After three years of negotiation, the Scottish High Court has given permission for the filming of a courtroom during a murder trial as part of a new feature-length documentary on Channel 4 tonight.

The documentary covers the case of a man accused of murdering his wife. Her body has never been found, there is no weapon, no crime scene and her husband appears to have a cast iron alibi for the day she disappeared.

This is the first time that remotely-operated cameras have been placed inside a British criminal court. Recorded over six weeks, this film shows the process of justice in a Scottish High Court like never before. With over 70 witnesses and 104 pieces of evidence the complex case is dissected firstly by the Prosecution QC and then the Defence QC. The victim’s family have been fighting for justice for over 14 years.

What will this new viewpoint will bring to the law and the public who tune in tonight to watch. Perhaps it will bring clarity, with people able to more fully understand the processes and hard work that goes into a court case?

It may have more of a negative impact, creating a sensational, Judge Judy style of courtroom that most barristers would be keen to avoid!

Whatever this exposure brings to the law profession, there is no doubt it will create a debate about the future possibilities of televised courtrooms.

The case

The husband was first brought to trial in 2003 for the murder of his wife. He was found guilty, but argued that the trial was a miscarriage of justice and challenged the verdict in the highest courts in the land. The case became a cause celebre. Eventually, after years of protesting his innocence, the conviction was quashed in 2011. In April 2012, the husband was sent back to the High Court inEdinburghfor a fresh trial, 14 years after his wife’s disappearance. A new jury was sworn in to hear all the evidence against him.

Tune in tonight at 9pm on Channel 4 to see if they find him guilty of murder or not.


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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