A leading Aberdeen solicitor has welcomed moves to resume jury trials in the Granite City.
The Scottish Court and Tribunals Service are involved in talks with venues such as cinemas to host juries while they watch proceedings take place at court.
It follows the success of High Court trials in the central belt with huge cinema complexes being used to allow jurors to watch proceedings while continuing to social distance.
There were fears about a backlog of cases after the Covid-19 pandemic meant trials were postponed.
Local solicitors have backed the move for trials to begin in the new year and now the president of Aberdeen Bar Association has added his voice to that.
Stuart Murray of Murray Ormiston said it is “vital” Sheriff and jury trials return and wants to see progress being made.
He said: “Whilst summary level trials have now resumed, it is vital that progress is made to resume Sheriff and Jury trials.
“The Aberdeen Bar Association has been told that Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service are making concerted efforts to allow this to happen.
“We are hopeful that negotiations with commercial venues will be successful and that the model of remote trials, used in the High Court in Edinburgh and Glasgow, can be rolled out to include Sheriff and Jury trials in Aberdeen and further afield.
“Sheriff and Jury trials deal with more serious cases than those dealt with at a summary level and it is important for those complainers, witnesses and accused persons involved in the process, to see that matters are moving forward.”
Solicitor Liam McAllister, a partner with Lefevre Litigation, said: “The sooner you get this up and running the better. The court service deserve great credit for coming up with a solution in these unprecedented times.
“I think all parties need to do what they can to make this work. People will be keen to clear the backlog as nobody wants any more delays.
“It will only work if we all come and join together for this so fingers crossed it does.
“It is important that from the perspective of witnesses, accused and everyone else we do things in a safe way. It is in nobody’s interest to delay any longer.”