Adopting provisions contained within The Coronavirus Act 2020 (‘the Act’) has enabled Kangs Solicitors avoid the need for an eighty years old client, who lives in a remote part of Wales, to travel to a preliminary Court Hearing in Manchester, which only lasted a few minutes.
If you are, or anticipate being, involved in criminal proceedings where the effects of Covid 19 may cause difficulty in complying with your obligations to the court in any way, please do not hesitate to contact Kangs Solicitors who will be happy to consider your position and advise upon the appropriate course to adopt.
Our team can be contacted for initial advice as follows:
The Circumstances | Kangs Criminal Courts Team
- Our client has been charged with offences which, in due course, will be dealt with at Manchester Crown Court.
- His attendance was required at Manchester Magistrates’ Court but as he is particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 and he is also the sole carer for his eighty-six years old wife, it was considered unwise and unnecessary for him to make the journey to court given the administrative nature of his Preliminary Hearing.
- Accordingly, leave was obtained from the court under sections 53-56 of the Act for our client to remain at home and for his appearance to be conducted via audio link.
- Legal representation by Kangs Solicitors was also provided via video link which enabled the very short Administrative Hearing to be conducted without unnecessary travel.
The Relevant Law | Kangs Criminal Procedure Team
- The Act at sections 53-56 expands the availability of live links in criminal proceedings.
- Previously, only defendants in custody and witnesses were able to appear by video link, but now defendants, members of the judiciary, legal advisors, advocates, interpreters and probation officers are able to do so.
- Jurors however are specifically excluded from the above list and must be in attendance at all times.
Court Considerations | Kangs Crime Solicitors
When considering whether or not a live link is appropriate for any particular Hearing the Court must:
- be satisfied that it is in the interests of justice,
- give the parties to the Proceedings an opportunity to make representations; and
- if the defendant is a youth or being dealt with as a youth, allow proper opportunity for the youth offending team to make representation.
In the case of witnesses:
- the importance of the witness evidence.
- whether a direction might inhibit any party from testing the witness evidence as effectively as may be the case in a courtroom.
In the case of any other person:
- the person’s availability,
- the need for that person to attend in person,
- the views of that person,
- the suitability of the technical facilities from which that person would take part,
- whether that person would be able to take part effectively.
- a defendant can sometimes participate by audio live link but can never give evidence via audio live link,
- the Court can never accept a guilty plea from a defendant, where any person is participating by audio live link.
- non defendants can sometimes participate by audio live link.
- non defendants can never give evidence by live audio link unless there are no suitable arrangements for them to give evidence by live video link and the parties agree.
How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence solicitors
If you are affected by anything contained within this article, or wish to discuss any similar complication which may arise from the Covid pandemic, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team.
We welcome enquiries by telephone or email.
We can provide initial consultation at our offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester.
Alternatively, we provide initial consultation by telephone or video conferencing.