A High Court trial in Aberdeen has collapsed over fears somebody involved in the case may have been exposed to coronavirus.
The trial of Gordon Gerrard was deserted after it emerged a family member of someone closely involved with the proceedings had shown symptoms of coronavirus.
The 70-year-old, from Dundee, was accused of rape, sexual assault and indecent behaviour.
He denied the charges but the trial, which only got under way on Monday, had to be deserted yesterday for health reasons in the midst of the global pandemic.
No new jury trials are to begin in Aberdeen or anywhere else in Scotland until further notice following government advice over the virus.
A statement released by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) confirmed the position but said jury trials which were already in progress, such as the Alex Salmond case, would continue.
The statement said: “Based on the government’s response to coronavirus, we are continually reviewing the operation of the courts and tribunals to ensure that essential services are maintained as far as possible and that we take appropriate measures to protect the health of all court users.
“As a result no new criminal jury trials will be commenced or new juries empanelled until further notice. This will be kept under review.
“Where jury trials have already commenced, these will run to conclusion of the trial, if practical to do so.
“For jurors cited for trials, this information will be available on jury telephone lines advising them not to attend.
“It is likely that further measures will be announced in the coming days.
“Please continue to regularly check the SCTS website for updates.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) has also been issuing guidance to staff and inmates to prevent the spread of Covid-19 but currently there are “no restrictions on movement” so establishments are continuing to operate as normal.
A SPS spokeswoman said: “Anyone within our care who is presenting with symptoms of Covid-19 is required to self-isolate within their cell for seven days.
“Those who are self-isolating still have access to food and medication and we are working on ways to maintain communication with friends and family.”