Manchester

Coronavirus: Jury trials resume in Manchester after hiatus

Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court
Image caption Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester has been adapted to make social distancing easier

The case of a man accused of possessing bullets is one of the first jury trials to begin since lockdown began.

The 27-year-old suspect appeared at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court in a courtroom that had been adapted to ensure social distancing.

Jury trials in England and Wales resume this week, almost two months after being put on hold due to coronavirus.

Minshull Street is one of only a handful of courts to start new jury trials in England since lockdown began.

'Challenging times'

Other courts where new juries can be sworn include the Central Criminal Court at the Old Bailey in London and Cardiff Crown Court.

"We are living, are we not, in challenging times?," said Judge John Potter to the Manchester jurors as he thanked them for carrying out their "important public duty".

He outlined how the "procedures and policies" had been adapted to make the court a safe environment.

"You will be brought into and out of the courtroom in groups of three to ensure social distancing is followed," he said.

"Your seats are all at an appropriate distance for each other in accordance with the guidelines; measurements have been taken.

"Instead of a normal jury retiring room, you will be using a courtroom which has seating arrangements in it that also meets social distancing guidelines."

He added: "I want to reassure you about standards of cleanliness. The courtroom in your absence will be cleaned regularly and touch points such as door handles cleaned regularly."

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