Venues in Scotland will be able to conduct trials with juries based in cinemas or other offsite locations
The rollout of remote jury trials in Scotland is to continue, with more courts to be linked up to nearby venues over the next few weeks.
This arrangement allows criminal trials to continue while Covid restrictions are in place by having juries based in a separate venue away from the court where they can physically distance safely and watch the trial remotely.
Seven Scottish courts are now running jury trials linked to remote jury centres.
Sheriff courts in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr, Paisley, Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Airdrie are connected to remote jury centres in Odeon cinemas in Edinburgh, Glasgow Quay, Ayr, Braehead and East Kilbride.
From 25 January, Dundee Sheriff Court will begin trials linked to a remote jury centre at the Odeon cinema in the city.
Jury trials will also get underway in Inverness from 8 February, linked to a jury centre at Eden Court, and Aberdeen Sheriff Court and Aberdeen High Court will restart jury trials on 15 February linked to a remote jury centre at the Vue cinema.
Also in February, courts at Falkirk, Kirkcaldy and Perth will begin jury trials linked to jury centres at Dunfermline and Dundee Odeons.
Finally, Greenock and Dumbarton will restart jury trials linked to the remote jury centre in the Odeon at Braehead.
This will complete the rollout of remote of jury trials to every sheriffdom in Scotland.
David Fraser, executive director for court operations at the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, said: “We recognise the concern and impact on the accused, victims and witnesses of any further delay in jury trials. The remote jury centres were designed to operate during COVID, ensuring jury trials can continue while restrictions are in place. The jury centres are large ventilated spaces, with physical distancing for jurors at all times and are fully equipped with all the necessary precautions of face coverings, hand washing facilities and sanitisers.”
He added: “While we know that there are concerns at this time, we have strictly followed Public Health Scotland’s guidance to make these new centres as safe as possible. Having juries remote from courts enables physically distanced trials to proceed with the same health, safety and security measures available to all court users.”