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The Claremont serial killer trial – A case to live stream?

11 Nov 2019


“The overwhelming majority support at least part of the trial being televised, but they seem to understand that not all of it will be suitable for everyone to see.”

That’s some of the words of Matt Stephen, our Head of Social and Health, from The West Australian newspaper’s coverage of our exclusive ‘People’s Voice’ poll last week.

The poll, seeking public opinion on whether the upcoming Claremont serial killer trial should be live streamed for the WA public to see, revealed that 75% of respondents think all or parts of the trial should be televised.

In most instances, the public in WA are allowed to visit a courtroom to watch a trial take place – but for a case as high profile as this one, it’s anticipated that the 80-odd seats in the Supreme Court’s main courtroom will fill up (and then some) rather quickly, meaning a lot of people who want to watch the proceedings won’t be able to.

“There’s clearly some support for live streaming it,” Matt says further. “Two-thirds say they’d likely watch some of the trial if it was televised, and among those, over 80% think it will improve their understanding of the WA legal system.”

And overall, it’s younger people who are most likely to be in favour of a live stream, despite many of them not even being alive at the time of the crimes. Compared to older age groups, young people are more likely to support all or part of it being streamed online and are the most likely to actually watch it if it is.

To give you more insight into what people said, here’s each of the questions we asked and some of the interesting results we uncovered…

1. If all Western Australian Supreme Court cases were streamed live online, do you believe it would improve your understanding of WA’s legal system?

  • Half of those polled (49%) said ‘yes’. Another 34% said ‘maybe’, while 17% said ‘no’.
  • Agreement generally decreases with age. The youngest respondents (aged 18-29 year olds) are significantly more likely to agree it would improve their understanding of the legal system (64% ‘yes’) compared to only 46% of those aged older than 30.

2. How much of the Claremont serial killer trial would you support being streamed online for the public to view?

  • The overwhelming majority want at least some of the trial televised. 46% said ‘appropriate parts of the trial, but not everything’ should be televised, and 29% said they ‘whole trial should be televised’. Only 14% said ‘none of it should be televised’ while a final 11% felt they don’t know enough about the trial to comment (these respondents weren’t asked Question 3 below).
  • Again, support for live streaming it generally decreased with age. 39% of 18-29 year olds think the whole trial should be televised, compared to 28% of those aged over 30.

3. If all or part of the Claremont serial killer trial was streamed live online, would you watch any of it?

  • Almost two thirds (63%) said they would likely watch the trial if it was streamed online.
  • Among those who said watching the trial would improve their understanding of the WA legal system, 82% plan to watch some of the trial if it’s televised.
  • Younger people aged 18-39 are most likely to watch it (71% ‘yes’), compared to just over half (56%) of those aged 40+.


Check out a snippet of our coverage and poll results in The West below!


To have your say on topical and important issues in the future — from sports, health, politics and beyond — sign up at rewardingviews.com.au and get your voice heard! You never know where it’ll end up…

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