Canadians split on introducing cameras into courtrooms

Legal expert says they would help Canadians understand justice system

Andrea Macpherson

Oct 25, 2010 16:03:22 PM

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - A new Angus Reid poll has found half of us want to watch court proceedings from our living rooms.

The pollsters' survey revealed 49 per cent of those asked would like to see cameras in courtrooms.

The debate has always been about access versus the impact cameras could have on those in court who know they are being filmed, says News1130 Legal Analyst Michael Shapray.

"If it was done with certain rules and restrictions and controls, I think access to the criminal justice system would be a very beneficial thing and would allow the public to have a better view of what actually goes on in the courtroom, and not just what gets reported through reporters in the courtroom," he contends.

Shapray says the Supreme Court of Canada does allow cameras in for legal arguments but not for broadcast.

The same survey asked participants how they felt about the recent coverage of the Col. Russell Williams murder and sexual assault court case. Half of Canadians think media coverage of Williams' trial was appropriate and the right balance was struck. But one-in-four respondents think the coverage was too comprehensive.