Fiscal warns of backlog of 50 jury trials
There are more than 50 jury trials pending in the Borders and waiting for dates due to the coronavirus pandemic backlog, it emerged this week.
Procurator fiscal Fraser Matheson told Selkirk Sheriff Court that courts in the Borders were still not able to host trials involving juries due to social distancing difficulties.
He explained that an arrangement had been made for priority indictments to be heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
One such case involves 37-year-old Scott Happer from Innerleithen, who is accused of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, assault to injury and assault.
His trial has been fixed for August 23 at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
But the first diets of other accused from the Borders were simply continued for four or eight weeks when they called at Selkirk Sheriff Court this week, with trial dates still to be fixed.
Juries are used for only the most serious cases which appear under solemn procedure in sheriff courts.
But there is also a backlog in summary trials.
Due to the lack of space for witnesses, only two or three trials can be organised for one day.
Accused persons pleading not guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court this week were having trials set for October – five months away.