Dunfermline cinema to be used to restart Falkirk and Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court jury trials
Empty cinemas are being used to allow jury trials to restart in Scotland’s sheriff courts.
The move follows the successful reopening of high courts amid the latest coronavirus lockdown which saw Odeon film theatres turned into Covid-secure remote jury centres.
Seven sheriff courts – Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr, Paisley, Kilmarnock, Hamilton and Airdrie – are now running jury trials, with the jury sitting in Odeon cinemas in Edinburgh, Glasgow Quay, Ayr, Braehead and East Kilbride.
In a bid to tackle the backlog of cases caused due to lockdown, more sheriff courts will restart over the next few weeks, including Falkirk and Kirkcaldy which will resume at Odeon Dunfermline in late February.
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David Fraser, executive director of 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.”
Mr Fraser 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.”