THE broadcasting of the Anders Behring Breivik trial for mass murder in Norway is the reason why TV cameras should be expelled from Scotland's courts, one of the country's best-known lawyers has warned.

Donald Findlay QC claims televising the 33-year-old's trial after he killed 69 people on the island of Utøya and killed eight others in a bomb attack in Oslo is "an example of why we shouldn't be broadcasting trials".

Last week STV film crews were allowed into Edinburgh High Court for the sentencing of David Gilroy, for murdering Suzanne Pilley. The camera mainly stayed on Judge Lord Bracadale as he handed down a life sentence.

The Gilroy case wasn't the first time cameras have appeared in a Scottish court. In 2002, permission was granted for the appeal of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, to be filmed at the Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.

Television cameras were also allowed into a Scottish court in 1992 on the basis that there would be no risk to the administration of justice. A murder case was filmed and after conviction it was broadcast as part of a BBC series, The Trial.

A sentencing by Lord Ross was filmed in 1996, while in 2008 cameras were given access to Luke Mitchell's appeal against conviction for the murder of Jodi Jones. Next week the trial of Nat Fraser for the murder of wife Arlene is to be filmed for TV.

Scotland is moving at a far quicker pace than the rest of the UK on allowing TV cameras into courts.

But the decision to let cameras into the courtroom divides opinion.

Findlay criticised the reasoning behind the moves, pointing to the Breivik case. "Why should anyone who has committed those crimes be given a chance to be on TV? I really don't understand it at all," he said.

"If people think they can make money out of something they will do it. I am totally opposed to cameras covering a full trial, in fact I would rather not have them at all. I think it is little more than a gimmick."

Leading barrister, Helena Kennedy QC, said she saw the broadcasting of trials as a "corruption and a corrosiveness of society".

"What the media wants is to film trials and especially sensational trials," she added. "That's their end game and that's what they are moving towards, and I think it undermines confidence in the law.

"When you're sitting in a courtroom your eyes can switch between the judge, the jury or whoever is talking and you see a trial. You're not seeing a full trial if it's on a television screen. You're seeing bits of it."

Solicitor Austin Lafferty, president of the Scottish Law Society, said of the Breivik case: "The whole purpose of murdering all those people was so he would get on television to tell his story – so it would be pandering to him to air everything he says."

But Lafferty is generally supportive of cameras in court and added that filming trials for broadcasting purposes was not "hugely different" to what goes on presently.

"If you look at any substantial criminal case the newspaper reports it with names, photographs ... there are television cameras outside the court where people emerge," he said. "We're not talking about night and day, we're talking about a different degree."

Former Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini, who supports the idea of televising trials in Scotland – if the courts regulate it – said: "We don't want to provide a form of cheap entertainment. For TV cameras to film trials it needs to be in the public interest.

"Allowing cameras into court has to be treated with considerable caution and has to be very measured if we are to avoid the disaster of the voyeuristic and prurient form of entertainment that trials can become. And we also need to ensure that we protect the most vulnerable witnesses and the accused."

Fears have been raised that witnesses might be deterred from coming forward by filming.

"Most witnesses are very nervous when they're giving evidence and I think that would be underlined if they knew they were going to be broadcast," said Angela McCracken, of solicitors firm Levy & McRae.

Nancy Louckes, chief executive of Families Outside, a charity which supports people affected by imprisonment, said: "What if a trial is shown and the person is found not guilty? It's hard to get away from the stigma of that so if it is shown on film it is only going to be worse."

Former Director General of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, Graeme Pearson, backed the idea that cameras could deter witnesses. Pearson, now an MSP and member of the Labour Party's Expert Panel on Justice, can see benefits from televising trials but added: "There is a class of solicitor who would perform for cameras. And that would have its own influences in the way juries see things."

Eamonn O'Neill, lecturer in journalism at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, was doubtful filming in courts would attract an audience. "It would educate people enormously, but at the end of the day, who would actually watch it?" he said.

Although decisions regarding broadcasting from the courtroom lie with the head of the judiciary in Scotland, the topic has not yet been discussed in the Scottish Parliament.

The leader of the Scottish LibDems, Willie Rennie, thinks the matter should be resolved. "It would be a good idea to debate this in parliament," he said.