UK crown court judge’s sentencing broadcast for first time

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. offender / əˈfɛn dər / (n.) – a person who breaks the law and commits a crime

    The offender was sentenced to five years in prison.

  2. transparency / trænsˈpɛər ən si / (n.) – a situation in which all processes or practices are made known to the public to show honesty and increase trust

    Our company released this year’s sales report to the clients for transparency.

  3. reinforce / ˌri ɪnˈfɔrs / (v.) – to encourage an idea, feeling, behavior, etc.

    The company’s commitment to quality reinforces its clients’ trust.

  4. proceeding / prəˈsi dɪŋ / (n.) – the act of going to a court for trial

    The witness is willing to give a statement during the proceedings.

  5. landmark / ˈlændˌmɑrk / (n.) – a significant event or discovery in a particular field or topic

    Michelle’s landmark research is about the effects of social media on young people.


Read the text below.

In the first crown court sentencing to be televised in Britain, a British judge jailed a man for life for killing his grandfather.

Judge Sarah Munro’s remarks were the first to be broadcast live on news channels after a change in law to allow cameras in British crown courts, which deal with serious criminal cases.

The legal change was made in 2020, but it was only implemented July 28 because of delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Munro sentenced Ben Oliver, 25, to life in prison with a minimum term of 10 years and eight months for the manslaughter of his 74-year-old grandfather.

The case was heard at the Central Criminal Court in London, which routinely hears the country’s most high-profile cases including murders and terrorism trials.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the move will help the public better understand the decisions judges make in complex criminal cases.

“Opening up the courtroom to cameras to film the sentencing of some of the country’s most serious offenders will improve transparency and reinforce confidence in the justice system,” Raab said in a statement.

Under the change in the law, crown court judges can be filmed delivering their sentencing remarks. Only the judge will be on camera to protect the privacy of victims, witnesses and jurors.

Previously, court proceedings were only broadcast from certain Court of Appeal cases.

Broadcasters hailed the change as a “landmark moment for open justice.”

“Court reporting is vital to democracy and the rule of law and this long overdue change is welcomed,” said John Battle, chair of the Media Lawyers Association.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • What do you think are the pros and cons of televising court trials? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, what kind of court cases or crimes shouldn’t be televised? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Do you think your government practices transparency? For what things would you like your government to be more transparent about (ex. national budget, environmental practices)? Why? Discuss.
  • Is transparency important to you? In what aspect of your life do you value transparency the most (ex. relationships, work)? Why? Discuss.