Crime Reduction

30.04.20

Video tech to ensure criminal justice system continues

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and the Ministry of Justice have announced today that a new video platform will be brought in to ensure criminal hearings continue to be carried out during this period of travel restrictions.

The new system will allow all magistrate and crown courts across England and Wales to hold secure hearings, allowing justice to be served remotely.

The technology, available for cases such as remand, custody time limit and sentence hearings, will enable the continued moving of people through the criminal justice system.

Jury trials will not be held in this new way, and a judge will decide if it will be used in any other hearing on a case-by-case basis.

Another condition is that no defendant will be appearing from their own home and there will be no sentences unless the defendant is already in custody or physically present in the courtroom. In this case the sentencing will be carried out in the traditional way.

If court hearings are missed due to illness, individuals must contact the court for that hearing to be rearranged.

Statistics released today show that 90% of all cases since Apr 14 2020 have been held remotely, ensuring the protection of the vulnerable in society.

Courts Minister Chris Philp, said

“It is essential that justice continues to be served in these difficult times and this new platform will help equip courts across England and Wales with secure and robust video technology to enable them to carry out more of their vital work.

“I am extremely impressed at the way all those within the justice system have adapted so well to the unprecedented challenges we face.

“We have already seen a huge rise in the number of cases being heard remotely, and this innovation will ensure the wheels of justice continue to turn.”

Connecting to a hearing has been made easy and accessible by simple clicking a link from an email invitation or in the crown court digital case system.

The first phase of this new technology will be rolled out to more than 100 courts, and the secure system is accessible from a wide range of devices.

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