A senior Queensland judge has denied reports she has been appointed to a subcommittee to look at televising criminal trials.
Queensland’s Court of Appeal president has denied reports she has been appointed to a subcommittee to consider televising criminal trials.
The Courier Mail reported on Friday that Chief Justice Tim Carmody had appointed Justice Margaret McMurdo and Justice Debra Mullins to the subcommittee.
The subcommittee would explore the feasibility, use of court resources and community benefits of the TV idea, the report says.
But Justice McMurdo has issued a statement saying she had not discussed the issue with Justice Carmody.
“There is no such taskforce or subcommittee as far as I am aware,” she said.
Justice McMurdo said she had been on such a committee a decade ago, but former chief justice Paul de Jersey was not keen to pursue the matter.
Justice Carmody was quoted as saying the subcommittee would explore the feasibility of televised trials, along with “whether it would improve access and the communities understand of court processes”.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie wasn’t able to confirm whether Justice Carmody had been exploring the idea.
Earlier this year, the trial of convicted wife killer Gerard Baden Clay attracted unprecedented public interest.
The Brisbane Supreme Court was forced to open extra “overflow” courts where the proceedings were streamed to accommodate the number of spectators.
It was the second high profile trial of 2014 to warrant the use of multiple court rooms, after the case against the man who murdered Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.
Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman said those two cases were exeptions, but most matters were “mundane and boring” for the public.
He warned against the televising of criminal matters, saying it could hinder a defendant’s ability to get a fair trial.
“The more intense the media coverage, the more the jurors, both potential and actual, are bombarded on a daily basis with the opinions of other people,” he told AAP.
He described the argument that televised proceedings may help educate the public about the court system as “shallow”.
“If anyone wants to know how a criminal trial runs, in court centres the length and breadth of Queensland, people can go into courts and have a look.”