Chambers’ Lydia Carroll prosecutes the first post-lockdown jury trial at Bradford Crown Court
As we all know Bradford is in the lead in returning to “in person” jury trials as lockdown begins to ease. Lydia Carroll was briefed to prosecute a case of dangerous driving in the first Bradford case to swear a jury. This is her account.
“Resuming of Jury trials on the North-East circuit
When it became apparent that I was listed to prosecute what would be the first trial on the North Eastern Circuit since Covid 19 hit – I have to admit was a little apprehensive as to how it would work and whether it would be able to work effectively, but was also eager to get back to some semblance of normality amidst the chaos that Covid has thrown up – and so, with some slight trepidation I attended at Bradford Crown Court on Tuesday 16th June ready to prosecute a trial for the offence of dangerous driving.
Attending at 9am, I was amazed to see there was already a long (socially distanced) queue of people outside the court that stretched alongside the building all the way to the road. I was directed to a shorter queue of advocates, and once established that I had a ‘Professional Court User Fast-track pass’ on my phone; and that I was a trial advocate and therefore allowed to be within the building up to 1 hour before the hearing; I was waved through security extremely promptly.
Once within the Court building, it was really a case of business as usual. Save for the social distancing measures in place and noticeable amount of staff around to implement those compared with the number of cases listed, I wouldn’t say anything was different or prevented me from prosecuting as I normally would; and whilst the sitting arrangements in court took some getting used to in terms of the jury being so spread out around the court, and us advocates sitting in unfamiliar areas – once the trial had started, it really wasn’t any different to any other trial. Yes – it takes longer to get things done, and so a dangerous driving trial with very little to it did take a whole day longer to finish than would normally be expected – but other than that it really was a case of business as usual and a welcome return to jury trials resuming once more, albeit a little differently.”
So it appears that there is hope of a return to normality in the not too distant future.