SUMMARY trials for Helensburgh and Lomond criminal court cases have resumed for the first time this year.

The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) announced last week that summary criminal trials – where the charges are less serious, and where evidence is heard by a sheriff sitting alone without a jury – would resume at Dumbarton Sheriff Court from April 19.

A maximum of three summary trials and two back-up cases are being scheduled per day.

The pandemic has created a significant backlog across Scotland’s criminal courts; the SCTS predicted last month that it would take until 2024-25 for that backlog to be cleared.

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Prior to last Monday, the only custody trials being held in Dumbarton were where the accused was in custody or where there were vulnerable witnesses.

Solemn trials, in which a jury hears the evidence and delivers a verdict, are being held with jurors sitting in a ‘remote centre’ – in Dumbarton’s case, that centre being one of the cinema auditoriums at the XSite entertainment complex at Braehead.

Eric McQueen, chief executive of the SCTS, said: “The safety of staff, judiciary and court users remains our top priority and is central to our plans to safely resume court business.

“We will continue to be guided by public health advice and to monitor case levels.

"The extensive measures we have in place to ensure the safest possible working environment will be maintained.”