Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

New images reveal trial set-up at high-tech jury centre inside Aberdeen cinema

The new jury centre at the Vue cinema.
The new jury centre at the Vue cinema.

New images have revealed how juries will follow court proceedings – from the comfort of a nearby cinema – when trials resume next week.

High Court and sheriff and jury-level trials came to an abrupt halt last March when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Scotland.

In Aberdeen no jury trials have been held since then, but as of next week they are set to resume – with juries following trials from the socially-distanced safety of the Vue cinema next door.

And now new images have revealed how the new remote jury centres will look.

Jurors will be spaced out across the cinema.

All 15 jurors will be spaced out across the cinema, with a video link to the courtroom itself displayed on the big screen.

Meanwhile high-tech cameras are trained on each jury member, with their image being beamed live to newly-installed screens in the courtroom so that lawyers and the sheriff or judge can see them.

Cameras will be aimed at each juror so those in the courtroom can see them.

Microphones are also being installed in courtrooms to ensure sound is picked up and played through the high-tech cinema audio system.

Solicitors have been impressed with the set-up

Lawyers and court staff have been given tours of the new facility at the cinema and the set-up in the courtrooms, with feedback resoundingly positive.

Solicitor Iain Hingston, of Hingston’s Law, said he was impressed with the remote jury centre.

He said: “What is absolutely clear is that a huge amount of work and thought has gone into it. I think that’s because we’re perhaps the last jury centre to be set up, as I understand it.

“Everything, therefore, in terms of the presentation, works smoothly.

“I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with it. The screen quality is excellent.

“One of the main problems for courts regularly for jurors is things being heard. I don’t think that will be a problem in this situation.

“There are microphones across numerous parts of the court and you’re using a cinema soundscape, so sound is picked up very easily.

“I was really very impressed.

High-tech cameras will film jury members in the cinema.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, but what stood out to me is that it was better than we thought it would be.

“Everything is different for lawyers. We’re going to have to learn slightly different techniques because in jury trials one is presenting to human beings and looking them in the eye, and that is removed when the jury is remote.

“But sitting where we were in the cinema, we were able to see the courtroom, able to see the sightlines so we know what cameras to look at and so on.

“Obviously until we try it, we don’t know, but certainly a lot of the question my colleagues and I had for my part my fears were largely assuaged and I think we should be optimistic about it.”

Mr Hingston added the resumption of jury trials was “massive”.

He said: “In terms of the administration of justice, getting through the business and giving people a conclusion to what is always a worrying and frightening time then it’s essential and I think everyone involved should be commended.”

Jurors will watch proceedings from the comfort of cinema seats.

Gregor Kelly, a partner at Lefevre Litigation, said: “I was most impressed with the arrangements in place for the jury prior to the recommencement of trials next week.

“The technology looks state-of-the-art and should ensure the jurors from city and shire can perform their civic duty in safety.

“I have a jury trial next week and I am looking forward to being part of the judicial process rather than watching it on Netflix!”

President of the Aberdeen Bar Association, Stuart Murray said: “The High Court is due to make a welcome return to Aberdeen next week and solicitors have now had an opportunity to visit the Vue cinema and see how the remote jury trials will operate for both the High Court and Sheriff and Jury trials.

“Whilst the virtual trial system should never be allowed to become the norm, it is a positive step forward in allowing those more serious of offences to be progressed. Hopefully this progression should serve to allay some of the stresses and concerns which have been hanging over the heads of complainers, witnesses and accused alike.

“Significant steps have been taken by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service to ensure that all those who are to attend Court, will be looked after and kept safe.

“We are hopeful that the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service can now take steps to put the appropriate PPE measures in place, to allow Summary Trials to recommence as soon as possible.”

The Vue is a stone’s throw from the court buildings in Aberdeen city centre.

David Fraser, executive director of court operations, previously 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.”

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) has also created a video to show jurors what to expect.

This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.