AN IRVINE solicitor has revealed that local lawyers are fighting plans to film a fly-on-the-wall documentary in court over concerns for their clients after previous BBC show The Scheme.

Simon Brown, of Matthew Brown Solicitors, told the Times most solicitors representing residents attending Kilmarnock Sheriff Court do not want any part in the programme, after interest from Mentorn TV.

Mr Brown says he and his colleagues are concerned that the programme could echo the controversial BBC series The Scheme, set in Kilmarnock.

Mentorn TV told the Times they did not wish to comment after questioning the plans for the programme – while the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) said they support open justice and would consider any request.

Mr Brown said: “I was contacted by the Sheriff Principal as a representative of the criminal bar at Kilmarnock to gauge our reaction to Mentorn TV filming a program on criminal business at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court.

“I spoke to my colleagues whose overwhelming, although I accept not unanimous, view was that we didn’t want to take part, and I communicated this to the Sheriff Principal and thought that would be the end of it.

“I also made some enquiries further afield and found out Aberdeen and Hamilton Sheriff Courts had already declined similar proposals.

“I was then spoken to by one of our Sheriffs saying that the Sheriff Principal was still keen on this idea and would we meet with the production company to see if they could allay our concerns.

“We agreed, although having again spoken to colleagues I did advise the Sheriff Principal again in advance of the meeting our position hadn’t changed.

“We attended the meeting yesterday lunchtime and the production company explained their view on the programme.

“Notwithstanding that, it remains the view of almost all of the criminal bar that we do not wish to participate.

“The Scheme was briefly mentioned, in that it portrayed a negative view of Kilmarnock that still persists, and we did not want that to happen again.

“For many of our clients, appearing in court was the worst day of their lives, and we didn’t think entertainment should be made of that.

“We also had concerns on the impact on trials being filmed and whether or not parties would be affected in giving their evidence or cross examining.

“The point about the Crown Office being behind this is interesting, as The area fiscal was also present at the meeting and indicated 90 per cent of her staff did not want to participate.

“I understand the sheriff clerks are similarly not keen.

“I understand SCTS and the Sheriff Principal have already in principle consented to the programme going ahead, but at the moment all but a very small minority of criminal practitioners will be refusing to participate.”

Mr Brown added: “After the meeting I again emailed everyone who appears in the criminal courts asking them to tell me whether or not they wished to participate, all bar one has said they do not want to appear.”

A Judicial Communications spokesperson at the SCTS said: “The courts support the principle of open justice and will carefully consider any media application to film proceedings that they receive.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “Scotland’s prosecution service supports the principles of open justice and engages with the media to help the public understand our work.”

A spokesperson for Mentorn TV said the company have no comment to make at this time.