Seven sheriff courts across Scotland now linked to ‘remote jury centres’

Seven sheriff courts across Scotland are now running jury trials linked to remote jury centres, with the latest running at the Odeon cinema in Dundee.

The nationwide rollout of a digital programme to keep the justice system up and running during Covid-19 has continued apace with Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr, Paisley, Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Airdrie Sheriff Courts all now linked to the entertainment giant’s local cinema network.

This week Dundee Sheriff Court restarted solemn trials linked to its local Odeon movie-house after the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service announced that criminal courts would focus on the most serious cases during the lockdown period.

Next month, jury trials will also get underway in Inverness on 8 February, linked to the remote jury centre at the Eden Court complex.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court and Aberdeen High Court will recommence jury trials on 15 February linked to the remote jury centre at the Vue cinema complex. Also in February, courts at Falkirk, Kirkcaldy and Perth, will re-start jury trials linked to jury centres at Dunfermline and Dundee Odeons.

Finally, Greenock and Dumbarton will restart jury trials linking to the remote jury centre in the Odeon Braehead. This will complete the re-start of jury trials in every Sheriffdom in Scotland.

David Fraser, Executive Director – Court Operations, 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. 

“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. 

“Our videos available on our website illustrate well all the measures jurors, witnesses and participants can expect and we would urge those called to serve as jurors or as witnesses to attend. Restrictions on travelling or attendance do not apply to those attending our courts or remote jury centres.”