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October 31, 2013

PM’s brother makes history as the first barrister to be filmed in Court of Appeal

By Ilse Bruijn

The Prime Minister's brother Alex Cameron QC made history today when he became the first barrister to be filmed in the Court of Appeal.

Cameron lost the case for his client Kevin Fisher, from Goffs Oak, Hertfordshire, who appealed against his seven years in jail sentence which he received for his involvement in what is believed to be the largest ever plot to make fake pound coins in the UK.

Television crews are now allowed to record Court of Appeal proceeding following a partial lifting of a 1925 law which banned image and sound recordings from English courts, with the exception of the Supreme Court.

Asked how he felt about being the first barrister to appear on camera at the Court of Appeal, Cameron said: "It's surprising. I only found out yesterday it was happening."

Lawyers' arguments and the judge's statements are allowed to be filmed but victims, witnesses, offenders and jurors are still off limits.

There will also be a 70 second delay on the live feed to allow time to remove anything that is breaching the restrictions.

The BBC, Sky News, ITN and PA have campaigned for years to make this possible and have now collaborated to pay for a  news service from the five court rooms, in which five cameras are now placed.

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The cameras will be operated by video journalist Matt Nicholls and the reports will be pooled for the use of the three broadcasters and PA.

James Harding, director of news and current affairs at the BBC, said: "This is a landmark moment for justice and journalism.

"It is a significant step on the way to helping millions of viewers gain a greater understanding of how our judicial system works."

Lord Chief Justice, Lord John Thomas thinks the move will "help a wider audience to understand and see for themselves how the Court of Appeal goes about its work".

Filming might soon be allowed in criminal courts as well. Justice Minister Damian Green said the government had "a view to extending this [the filming] to sentencing decisions in the Crown court in due course."

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