Court on camera – right or wrong?

Yesterday, thousands watched as Judge Lord Bracadale sentenced killer David Gilroy to serve a minimum of 18 years after he was found guilty of the murder of his girlfriend, Suzanne Pilley.

STV recorded the footage which later aired on Sky News and other media outlets, and although viewers didn’t see Gilroy’s reaction to his sentencing – only the judge’s summing up was shown – I’m wondering if airing real cases is morally right or wrong?

In the clip from yesterday, which you can see after the jump, we also didn’t hear any of the evidence in the case, but again, I have to wonder how long it’ll be until we ape American court TV and hear cases from start to finish.

And my concern there is that despite being sworn not to do so, jury members may watch footage and be swayed by public opinion based on what’s been aired of the trial, as I believe was the case with OJ Simpson, and subsequently – due to the very public nature of the proceedings – part of the reason why he wasn’t convicted…

But of course, this isn’t the first footage of a real trial from Scottish courts, as previously, the verdict on Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was aired, as was his bail application.

In yesterday’s case, the footage was, as mentioned – and as you can see for yourself in the clip below – the end of a trial which has seen the victim’s family have to sit through agonizing testimony, and worse yet, they still don’t know where their daughter’s body is as Gilroy refuses to admit he killed her, and therefore claims not to know where she is.

After the jury returned a guilty verdict, the judge told Gilroy, “You lost your temper and murdered her in a sustained attack.

“It seems you are the only person who knows where her body is. I hope a day will come in your life when you will disclose that information.”

Lord Bracadale also paid tribute to Suzanne parents who he said “sat with quiet dignity through the rest of the trial”.

Here’s the clip…

So I’d like to know your opinion about court TV. Is it morally and ethically right or wrong to air trials?

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.