First woman in the UK sentenced live on television after cameras allowed in the courtroom

Jemma Mitchell today (28 October) became the first woman to be sentenced live on television in the UK, following a change in the law two years ago to allow cameras in courtrooms. Sitting in the Old Bailey, Judge Richard Marks KC sentenced Mitchell to life with a minimum term of 34 years for murdering and beheading her friend Mee Kuen Chong, in order to attempt to inherit hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The very first televised UK court sentencing hearing took place in July this year in The Old Bailey, with Ben Oliver sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Sarah Munro QC for murdering his grandfather.

The law changed in June 2020 in the hope that more public focus on judges decisions will lead to more transparent sentencing, although cameras can only record the judge, not victims or witnesses or jurors. Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary, said after the hearing in the summer: “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.

“The public will now be able to see justice handed down, helping them understand better the complex decisions judges make.”

You can watch a clip of today’s sentencing here: