Sky News is to broadcast live and verbatim a transcript of the verdict in the murder re-trial of Sion Jenkins - the first time it has ever been allowed in the UK.
Sky News is to broadcast live and verbatim a transcript of the verdict in the murder re-trial of Sion Jenkins - the first time it has ever been allowed in the UK.

Following "several years" of negotiation with the judiciary and the Department for Constitutional Affairs, Sky News has agreed on a protocol allowing live transmission, at the discretion of the trial judge, of the transcript (also known as stenography) from the opening and closing speeches, the summing up and the verdicts, as well as a delayed transmission of witness evidence.

The judgement in the case of Jenkins, a former deputy head teacher accused of the murder of his foster daughter Billie-Jo, is expected sometime next week.

"This is the first time that such access has been granted in criminal proceedings and is a great leap forward for court reporting," said Simon Bucks, associate editor, Sky News.

Sky News has developed technology which enables stenography to be transmitted live on screen in a new service called SkyScript. Sky digital viewers will be able to see the summing-up and the verdict on SkyScript live on air and via Sky News Active by pressing the red button on their remote control. The transcript will be provided by WordWave International.

Earlier in the year the broadcaster aired a live transcript of the Iraq abuse courts martial in Osnabruck - the first live instantaneous transcript of judicial proceedings seen anywhere in the world.

Meanwhile, this week newscasters are hopeful of being granted greater access for TV cameras in court, by the government.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs was consulting on the issue until March and department head Lord Falconer has said he will make an announcement on whether to allow any changes before the end of June.

The Broadcasters' Court TV Group, which comprises BBC, ITV, ITN, Channel 4, Five and Sky, undertook a pilot project last year using footage from the Court of Appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice to show Falconer how they would cover events.