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UK News Jury trials halted in England and Wales over coronavirus

10:30  23 march  2020
10:30  23 march  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

Patient dies in Wales after being diagnosed with coronavirus

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Coronavirus pandemic. All new jury trials in England and Wales have been halted until they can be conducted safely, the Lord Chief Justice has In a letter to judges and magistrates, Lord Burnett said the decision was made to "ensure social distancing in court" amid the ongoing spread of coronavirus .

All jury trials in England and Wales will be put on hold as part of the ongoing efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19. Earlier in the week, Lord Burnett, the most senior judge in England and Wales , said no new trials expected to last three days or more would go ahead amid the deepening coronavirus crisis.

All jury trials in England and Wales have been put on hold to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

a clock tower in the background: Courts are the latest public service forced to adapt to the coronavirus outbreak © Other Courts are the latest public service forced to adapt to the coronavirus outbreak

Courts have been told to use "considerable imagination and flexibility" to work up plans for every person to be two metres apart from each other before trials can begin again.

Lord Burnett, head of the judiciary in England and Wales, said social distancing is a "particular concern" to address as the government prepares to rush through emergency laws to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

So far, 281 people who had coronavirus have died and 5,683 people have tested positive for the virus, according to the Department of Health.

More than a dozen high-profile Old Bailey trials on hold

  More than a dozen high-profile Old Bailey trials on hold The Old Bailey currently has eight murder cases mid-trial, which will continue. Among them is the trial of three teenagers accused of the murder of Police Constable Andrew Harper, who died in the line of duty trying to apprehend quad bike thieves.In the weeks up to April 30, a string of new trials, which typically last between two to six weeks, have been postponed, a court official has confirmed.They include several murder trials involving youths as young as 16, who as a result will spend more time behind bars on remand.

LONDON (Reuters) - The head of the judiciary in England and Wales on Monday ordered all jury trials to be suspended to allow new systems to be brought in to cope with government instructions for Britons to avoid unnecessary contact to prevent spreading coronavirus . Lord Chief Justice Ian

Lord Burnett, the most senior judge in England and Wales , previously said no new trials expected to last three days or more would go ahead amid the But, as pressure from members of the legal profession mounted on the government to halt court hearings, the extraordinary step of suspending all

As all sectors of society prepare for upheaval, Lord Burnett announced no new jury trials will start until a judge rules it is safe to do.

Jurors summoned for duty on Monday will be told to remain at home and contact the court they are due to attend.

They will only be asked to come in for trials where specific arrangements to ensure safety have been put in place.

Some will be put on new trials and any hearings that can lawfully take place remotely will be.

In magistrates' courts, Lord Burnett said "all hearings that can lawfully take place remotely should do so if the facilities exist".

And in civil and family courts, hearings should be held remotely and any in-person ones should only go ahead if "suitable arrangements can be made to ensure safety".

More follows...

Coronavirus in Scotland: Trials to be decided without juries .
The proposal, which would see individual judges deciding the outcome of major trials, is contained in emergency legislation designed to help public services cope with the crisis.It was immediately condemned by the Scottish Criminal Bar Association (SCBA), which said it amounted to an assault on “principles that have been built over 600 years”.The organisation, which represents QCs specialising in criminal law, said the “draconian” measure was “premature, disproportionate and ill-advised” even in the current circumstances.

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