It was the case of the infamous Dr Crippen more than a century ago, on trial in court number one at the Old Bailey in London, which paved the way for the law banning cameras in court.

Even then, in 1910, cameras were discouraged from capturing court proceedings and the press were supposed to apply for permission.

But a series of snatched photographs of the American homeopathic doctor, in the dock alongside his mistress Ethel Le Neve, were splashed all over the papers of the day, infuriating the judiciary and politicians.

In the years after Crippen was convicted and hanged for the murder of his wife, parliament passed the new law.

It read: No person shall (a) take or attempt to take in any court any photograph, or with a view to publication make or attempt to make in any court any portrait or sketch, of any person, being a judge of the court or a juror or a witness in or a party to any proceedings before the court, whether civil or criminal; or (b) publish any photograph, portrait or sketch taken or made in contravention of the foregoing provisions of this section or any reproduction thereof.

Although that law banned, not just photographs but sketches during trials, the rules were later relaxed to allow the press to employ the talents of court artists, to sketch a likeness of the accused and others involved in a particular trial.

Some artists were better than others, but they’ve been a part of the media landscape for generations.

It meant the day-to-day coverage of trials, in the country’s most high profile court, were told through court artists’ sketches and reporters’ shorthand scribbles.

That wasn’t really a problem for the newspapers, but with advent of radio and television, the drama of those court proceedings had to be relayed through correspondents after the fact, on live cameras outside court.

Like the court artist, some reporters are better than others at capturing the sense of drama from inside court – it is an art form in itself.

More than a century on from the Dr Crippen trial, court number one at the Old Bailey will make history again, when the first televised proceedings will be aired within months.

Initially, it will be a small part of the trial process which will be available to film.

The sentencing remarks made by the judge at the end of a successful prosecution may not sound like much, but they are often expansive and summarise the case.

There is definite drama in the excoriating remarks a judge can send a defendant’s way and of course we all want to know how many years behind bars those convicted of some truly awful crimes will receive.

Allowing the cameras in, even on this limited basis, is none-the-less a massive step for the government and the judiciary to take. They have, understandably, been deeply concerned about the impact a television camera in court might have on legal proceedings.

They’ve viewed with horror televised court cases in other countries and fear trials could be sensationalised and vulnerable witnesses put off from taking the stand, for fear they’ll be publicly criticised or ridiculed.

The broadcast media now effectively on trial here as well. The judiciary has taken a significant step in allowing cameras in.

It is up to the media to report sensitively and responsibly, if the initiative is to become a success and extend it to other parts of the trial process.

(c) Sky News 2020: After a century-long ban, cameras to capture courtroom drama again