SHOULD someone be in court for what happened on the Jeremy Kyle show?

Here’s what we know: Steve Dymond appeared on the show and took a lie detector test to prove he hadn’t been unfaithful. He failed the test, and ten days later was found dead after taking what is thought to have been an overdose. Dymond was a troubled man who suffered from depression.

Eyewitnesses say he cried throughout the show and collapsed when he failed the lie detector. His son said the show "ripped into" Dymond. The Kyle show’s forte is extreme humiliation.

We now know that the lie detector tests weren’t accurate. Yesterday, the House of Commons Culture Select Committee heard from executive producer Tom McLennan who said he did not know how reliable the lie detectors were. The select committee opened an inquiry into reality TV after Kyle’s show was axed in May following Dymond’s death.

Damian Collins, chair of the committee, told McLennan: "If it wasn’t for the lie detector test, we might not be sitting here." Collins called the makers irresponsible.

READ MORE: MPs criticise 'irresponsible' Jeremy Kyle bosses over lie detectors

To readers unfamiliar with the Kyle show, guests are there to be verbally abused and mocked. Viewers are there to laugh and cringe. It’s a show which should be followed by a shower. Many guests appear extremely vulnerable.

It’s a cross between the Colosseum and Bedlam, where guests are either viciously dispatched, or held up to ridicule like a patient in a Georgian asylum brought out for paying guests to gawp at. A judge called the show human bear baiting after a trial involving a fight on stage.

The programme’s modus operandi is using lie detectors and DNA tests to solve domestic problems like infidelity, paternity and addiction. Members of the Commons committee have questioned how guests can give informed consent to take part if there was no understanding of the lie detector’s accuracy. Jo Stevens MP said programme makers had a duty of care and that if producers didn’t know how accurate lie detectors were then "the entire premise of the show is fake".

ITV defends itself. Chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall insists the show followed the correct procedures. Exec producer Tom McLennan said "we take our duty of care very seriously".

Jeremy Kyle, who earns £2million a year, refused to appear before the committee. He will, however, continue working with the broadcaster.

READ MORE: The Jeremy Kyle Show suspended indefinitely after guest dies

Graham Stanier, director of aftercare, was questioned over how guests were looked after, and over his training. He was asked if he had a psychology qualification. He replied: "I’ve studied … modules." One MP asked: "So no-one qualified and registered?". Stanier stressed he was a qualified psychotherapist. MPs asked why no professional registered by the Health and Care Professions Council was part of the welfare team. ITV bosses said they would write to the committee to answer the question.

Kyle’s show is not alone when it comes to concerns around the exploitation of members of the public. Love Island has seen two cast members commit suicide. Mike Thalassitis killed himself in March. Last year, Sophie Gradon, who was also on Love Island, took her own life.

In 2007, on his show Kitchen Nightmares – also known for aggression and humiliation – Gordon Ramsay told American chef Joseph Cerniglia: "Your business is about to f**king swim down the Hudson." Three years later, Cerniglia, beset by problems in his love life, jumped off the George Washington Bridge. In 2007, Rachel Brown fatally shot herself the year after appearing on Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. In America, there has been an estimated 21 suicides connected to reality TV since 2004.

Clearly, appearing on Reality TV is unlikely to be the sole reason why anyone would take their life. But a vulnerable person struggling with problems such as martial break-up or debt could find the shark tank of reality TV just one too many pressures to bear.

Not everyone who goes on such shows is vulnerable, and many go on with their eyes wide open, hoping for a few moments of fame or to parlay a TV appearance into a career. Many guests are reprehensible characters. However, in the case of Kyle’s show it is beyond negligent to subject a person to a lie detector test which could ruin their life if that lie detector test is questionable.

ITV’s show falls under English law. According to the Crown Prosecution Service the offence of gross negligence manslaughter is committed where a death is a result of a grossly negligent act of omission on the part of the defendant. The offence most often takes place in a hospital, where a medic has failed in their duties, or in the workplace where staff have been put at risk in places like oil rigs, construction sites and factories. The onus on prosecutors is to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased and that their negligent act or omission was a cause of death.

READ MORE: Jeremy Kyle Show guest told son that TV host ‘really laid into me’

There is certainly scope for prosecutors to look at some of the worst excesses of reality TV though this legal lens. Perhaps, though, a first step on the road to the law making its voice heard should be a judicial inquiry into reality TV along the same lines as the Leveson inquiry into the press in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.

Reality TV is an untamed tiger. An inquiry would not be about censoring reality TV. It’s not the content that needs controlled – although too often what’s aired is degrading and lacking in merit – it’s the behaviour of TV execs and the treatment of vulnerable members of the public under their watch which needs scrutinised and curbed.

There needs to be a three-step checklist for members of the public: firstly, if they cannot consent, are vulnerable or have mental health problems, they should not be cast to appear; secondly, the risks of appearance should be made abundantly clear; thirdly, care should be given to those appearing throughout, and aftercare should continue for as long as is necessary – and only be given by recognised professionals not connected to the show, so there is no conflict of interest.

Reality TV does not need to be something which degrades culture. At its best it can be a genre which sheds light on the lives we lead – think of the series Up which has been telling the stories of the lives of a group of British children since they were seven in 1964 until today when they are now 63. However, at the moment reality TV is dominated by amoral, exploitative, showmen who care not a jot about ordinary people as long as ratings continue to rise. It’s not the genre that’s wicked – blame should lie with those perverting Reality TV.

Neil Mackay is Scottish Columnist of the Year