The high churn of people squeezed into England’s filthy court buildings

In Scotland, with its independent criminal justice system, all new jury trials have already been stopped, and more restrictions have been brought in for safety reasons during the pandemic:
Scottish courts announce further restrictions to business | Law Society of Scotland
Scottish courts announce further restrictions to business | Law Society of ScotlandSummary criminal trials to focus on custody cases due to COVID-19

“Further measures to counter the “significant impact” the coronavirus pandemic is having on Scottish court business have been announced by Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

In criminal cases, where a stop has already been put on any new jury trials, the Lord Justice General and Lord Advocate have agreed that summary criminal trials will now focus on custody cases except for some non-custody trials where witnesses are available: these are likely to be cases of domestic abuse, sexual offending or other violence.

In addition there will be “strong judicial case management” to attempt to resolve cases without the need for a trial. Prosecutors and defence agents alike “will be expected to respond to the current situation with a view to ensuring that our restricted capacity for trials is reserved for essential cases”. Further opportunities to pre-record evidence or have evidence given from remote locations will also be explored.”

Meanwhile, in the English justice system there are calls to stop jury trials & many complaints on the lack of sanitation in court buildings, here is a BBC report of a trial stopped because of it:

Coronavirus: Trial at Gloucester Crown Court abandoned
Coronavirus: Trial at Gloucester Crown Court abandonedBarrister Ian Fenny dons white gloves as he asks a judge to halt proceedings as coronavirus spreads.

A trial was abandoned after a barrister complained it was “more hygienic in the cells than it is in the actual court”.

Prosecutor Ian Fenny made the remarks after a juror at Gloucester Crown Court “felt obliged to self-isolate” when a family member fell ill.

Mr Fenny, who donned white disposable gloves, bemoaned the “lack of hand sanitation” in public areas.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC discharged the remaining jury members and adjourned proceedings.

Barristers in England and Wales have demanded a halt to jury trialsas the coronavirus continues to spread.

Mr Fenny told the court in Gloucester he was “wearing white gloves to make a point on hygiene”.

“How can we be expected to continue this trial in light of the current circumstances?”

Barrister Caighli Taylor agreed, saying “the panel cannot deliberate in such an enclosed jury room.

“The jury box in this court is equally as small.””

From the Secret Barrister, who has been highlighting the filthy state of English courts for some time, and their lack of funding by the uk government.

“There is no coherent plan. The official MoJ line is “business as usual”. Trials of up to 3 days are expected to proceed, irrespective of the risk caused by this high churn of people squeezed into our filthy court buildings.”

I haven’t seen anything about how clean Scottish courts are – that doesn’t been to say they are, but I can’t find any complaints.

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