Courtrooms in Ontario to get cameras

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ontario courtrooms could get cameras for Ontarians to watch court proceedings on television. This is awaiting approval by both the government and judges.

Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant released a report on justice and the media which recommends cameras to be allowed in courtrooms except during witness testimony. Bryant said he agreed with the suggestion from a panel of experts composed of court officials and members of news organizations. "I think that our justice system is ready for its close-up," Bryant said in Toronto.

Bryant agreed Thursday, saying the compromise position would avoid sensational coverage of criminal trials often seen in the U.S.

CPAC might get permission to air court proceedings

"The panel looked at that and wanted to avoid the circus," said Bryant. "There were great concerns about television cameras reporting in a fashion that would intimidate witnesses. Some witnesses (and some victims) might not come forward if they thought they would be on television."

"We're not talking about filming trials, we're talking about allowing cameras into the court to record legal argument," said Louise Botham, president of the Ontario Criminal Lawyer's Association.

Proceedings at the Supreme Court of Canada are broadcast on the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel (CPAC) and provinces such as British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, with prior permission of the court. In Newfoundland, cameras are allowed into a courtroom up to the time the judge enters.


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