According to the agency, this approach will allow all magistrate and crown courts in England and Wales to conduct secure hearings, thereby making it easier to ensure that there is no interruption in providing justice even during the present situation.
Furthermore, with most criminal cases heard in magistrate courts, the new video technology will help in moving people through the criminal justice system in the unprecedented times caused by COVID-19, said the agency.
The Kinly Cloud Video Platform is initially being introduced across 60 magistrates’ courts and 48 crown courts that are open currently to the public, with others to follow as early as possible. The video technology is also being rolled out to the civil and family courts.
As per HMCTS, the new video platform securely connects to the existing justice video network which links police stations and prisons to the courts. It can be accessed by any internet-enabled device that is equipped with a camera and a microphone.
The Kinly Cloud Video Platform will be used for cases like remand, custody time limit, and sentencing hearings. However, it will not be used for carrying out jury trials, and it will be up to a judge to decide if it is fine to use it in any other hearing depending on a case-by-case basis.
Additionally, no defendant will be appearing from their own home, while sentencing will not be given by the court unless the defendant is in custody or physically there in the courtroom. If present physically and sentenced to custody, the situation will be dealt with in the usual manner, HMCTS.
UK Courts Minister Chris Philp said: “It is essential that justice continues to be served in these difficult times and this new platform will help equip courts across England and Wales with secure and robust video technology to enable them to carry out more of their vital work.
“I am extremely impressed at the way all those within the justice system have adapted so well to the unprecedented challenges we face.
“We have already seen a huge rise in the number of cases being heard remotely, and this innovation will ensure the wheels of justice continue to turn.”