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Cameras to film Court of Appeal rulings at Canterbury Crown Court with Britain's top judge Lord Thomas hearing cases

By Paul Hooper


Canterbury Crown Court will make double history today at 10.30am in court six.

It will be the first time that Britain’s top judge, Lord Thomas, has come to the city to hear appeals.

And the four cases will also be shown on television... as cameras will be allowed to record their rulings.

The case was heard at Canterbury Crown Court

The Government banned filming court cases 90 years ago – but in October last year the Court of Appeal broke with tradition and invited TV cameras in to record some of its cases.

This morning Canterbury’s resident Judge Adele Williams will welcome the Lord Chief Justice who is sitting with the Lord Justices Sweeney and Nicol when Court Six becomes an appeal court for the one day.

The three will later have lunch with all of Canterbury’s judges, including Nigel Van Der Bijl, Simon James, James O’Mahony and Heather Norton.

Lord Thomas, 67, was created a life peer in October last year and became Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

Mr Justice Sweeney is the judge who jailed Vicky Pryce – ex-wife of disgrace MP Chris Huhne, for eight months last year after describing her as “manipulative and devious”.

And he recently jailed the deviant entertainer Rolf Harris for six years for sex crimes.

Last year Mr Justice Nicol jailed the killer of 12 year old Tia Sharp to 38 years.

Filming at the Court of Appeal followed a partial lifting of the long-standing ban on cameras in court.

Lawyers' arguments and judges' comments can appear but defendants, witnesses and victims will not be shown.

One of the cases they will be deliberating on is, ironically, an appeal by a family doctor who used a secret camera inside his James Bond-style wristwatch to record himself abusing female patients.

Canterbury Crown Court

Their first case is an appeal by a 71-year-old perverted pensioner and his son – 50 years his junior – who were jailed for sex offences on a young girl.

Also being heard is the case of Iraqi-born Majid Saleh and 21-year-old Hussain Hamid, both from Dover.

The were each convicted by a jury of two charges and jailed for two years.

Their victim - aged just nine - was subjected to touching and being offered money for a sex act.

The child, who gave evidence at the trial, described the requests from the sick father and son as "disgusting and scary" and "bad stuff".

Saleh and Hamid, of Maison Dieu Place, had both denied 22 offences – but were each convicted of one sexual assault on a child and one of inciting a child to commit a sex act.

Saleh claimed he suffered from an itching disorder that led to him scratching himself in his groin area.

Judge Heather Norton, who conducted the trial in 2012, told them she
regarded the incitement as "a precursor to sexual grooming".

Cameras are not yet allowed in crown courts and magistrates' courts.

Judge Adele Williams said: "We are delighted that the Lord Chief Justice has brought the Court of Appeal to Canterbury.

"He considers it very important to come out of London and visit centres throughout England and Wales.

"Some of the proceedings have also been televised as the Appeal Court considers it very important that justice is open and seen to be open."

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