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Manitoba's 1st courtroom broadcast to air today

04/16/2014 06:30 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 11:24 EDT
Television cameras will be allowed to broadcast from inside a Manitoba courtroom for the first time ever Wednesday afternoon as part of a pilot program launched by the province.

CBC is livestreaming the verdict Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Cassandra Knott, who is charged with second-degree murder in connection with her husband's death in 2011.

Winnipeg defence lawyer Jay Prober said the cameras will help the public better understand what goes on in court.

But not everyone is on board with the program.

Earlier this week, the John Howard Society of Manitoba, an advocacy group for offenders, said cameras would add a layer of artificiality to the courtroom.

"Here I am right now, talking to you, trying not to pay attention to the camera. It puts a level of artificiality on it,” said Kate Kehler, acting executive director of the offender-advocate group. "The whole idea is to be getting to the truth of the matter."   

Kehler is concerned cameras in the court may have a negative influence on those on trial — whether or not a person is exonerated.

Prober disagrees.

“I would strongly disagree with the John Howard Society,” said Prober. “Just as you would be if you're a hockey player on the ice, you're focusing on the game — not the people who are watching the game.” 

Prober said while he is in favour of the program, he acknowledged it could have some impact on clients.

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