Carol Jordan: 'Getting a camera in a courtroom a journey decades in the making'

Today felt like a moment.

Ostensibly it was just a camera in a courtroom but in reality this was a step towards a more transparent judicial system, a move towards helping the public understand the role of judges and how they get to often difficult and sensitive decisions. The journey to stepping into that courtroom with our cameraman John Vennard has been a long one, decades in the making.

It started with an innovative report from the Bar Council in 1989 which recommended televising court proceedings but it took 15 years to actually happen when a pilot initiative to film at the Court of Appeal in London took place.

Many characters worked behind the scenes to make this happen including the legendary ITN Legal Counsul, John Battle who worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between the legal and broadcast worlds.

It would still take another few years before regular filming started to take place at the Supreme Court but those efforts have resulted in the most important rulings of our times being televised and watched by millions. Think of the judgments handed down to Lucy Letby or the murderer of Sarah Everard, former policeman Wayne Couzens.

The Lady Chief Justice Siobhan Keegan has vocalised her desire for reform and to make the workings of the courts more accessible to the public and when at a dinner in London, she met John Battle and the rest as they say is history. John has been working with my team at UTV but also with the BBC, PA and Sky News to get the Northern Ireland pilot off the ground.

It’s fair to say there are more sensitivities around the move than there may be in other parts of the UK, another legacy of the Troubles.

But all of us recognise that this is a move which is in the public interest and while hugely sensitive, this is a process which could deliver significant reform and visibility to the courts system.

On a personal level, I think it humanises what is often an opaque process. Rather than reading about a guilty or not guilty verdict or an appeal decision, it allows the public to understand the rationale behind the judge’s decision.

It helps them to understand the various nuances, often distressing issues which need to be considered and the legal framework which judges have to work within. And so to today.

Just being in the court with a camera for the very first time felt auspicious.

It garnered interest from public, staff and legal teams alike. While myself and John concentrated on ensuring everything worked from a technical perspective, we also appreciated that we were the face of this pilot. We needed to ensure people felt comfortable with the idea of a camera in court.

Watch: Solicitor Paul Dougan reacts to news of the pilot project.

Our level of professionalism would instil confidence in the process and as we stood there, it felt as if we could be on the cusp of a new era of transparency and visibility of those on the bench. It's day one however. There will be other test cases and legislative changes will have to be made if putting cameras in our courts is to become as normal as it is in other parts of the UK. But today marks the first step in what could be an exciting era for both the media and the public.

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