JURY trials at Dumbarton Sheriff Court are set to resume in the new year – but jurors will be sitting a 15-mile journey away from the court itself.

Trials for the most serious sheriff court cases in the area, which covers all of Helensburgh and Lomond as well as Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven, Clydebank, Bearsden and Milngavie, were suspended at the start of the pandemic in March as the court was unable to accommodate social distancing requirements.

But the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) says it expects “sheriff and jury” trials at the court to resume in February.

However, while the sheriff, the accused and lawyers will attend trials at the court in person, jurors will hear evidence from a specially-adapted facility at the Odeon cinema complex at Braehead.

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The same complex – which is currently operating as a remote jury centre for trials at the High Court in Glasgow while all Odeon’s Scottish cinemas are closed – will be used for jury trials taking place at the sheriff courts in Greenock and Paisley.

Jury trials at the sheriff courts in Glasgow and Edinburgh, again using cinemas as remote jury centres, resumed this week – the first such trials to take place since the start of the pandemic.

David Fraser, chief operations at the SCTS, said: “The commencement of trials in Edinburgh and Glasgow next week sees the restart of sheriff court jury trials.

“There has been exceptional progress to secure remote jury centre venues required and we intend to move as quickly as possible to the pre-Covid number of sheriff court jury trials proceeding in Scotland.”

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