‘Virtual’ judge hears jury verdict via Skype

Topics: Courts business

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (2)
  • Save

Related images

  • Skype screen

A jury has delivered its verdict before a ‘virtual’ judge appearing on screen, in what is believed to be the first time a judge has not been physically present in court to hear a verdict in a criminal case.

HH Judge John Tanzer appeared via Skype at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday, when a teacher was acquitted of sexual offences.


Doughty Street Chambers’ Liam Walker, who represented the teacher and was instructed by Robert Dynowski, partner and head of the criminal department at Steel and Shamash, said: ‘The judge gave advance notice of possibly using technology to take a verdict remotely, and invited us to take instructions.’

The jury returned a not guilty verdict on one of the counts, for which the judge was present. ‘The judge rose and stated that he would ensure he was contactable via Skype through secure Wi-Fi,’ Walker said.

Counsel were told later that the judge was at an official commitment, and that the jury had a verdict on the remaining counts. Counsel connected to the court Wi-Fi and contacted the judge, whose image was projected on to large screens.

The jury entered court and found the defendant not guilty on the remaining counts. The judge then discharged the defendant.

‘Had there have been the need to respond to jury questions, it had been agreed that they would have been dealt with the following day with the judge there in person,’ said Walker.

‘Had the jury have come back with guilty verdicts it had been agreed that sentence would have been adjourned,’ he added.

Readers' comments (2)

  • In the summer I was reading an excellent biography of the first Lord Mansfield by an American author. He records at least two cases (and one supposes that there were others) where Mansfield left the jury to their deliberations and went home. Later when a verdict was reached the entire jury was transported to Mansfield's home where he took the verdict in his entrance hall! Skype seems to be modern version of this and would have saved Mansfield's juries much travelling about.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In the future we will be seeing more and more of this sort of think. I am sure the day will come where the the norm is that the whole trial will be conducted remotely.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (2)
  • Save
Browse over 4,300 law jobs Get jobs by email


Sign up for email news alerts

Daily Update. Keep abreast of the latest developments that affect the profession


SELLING? MERGING? VALUING? Acquiring? Free information from 01494 483728. raymondafox@aim.com www.BottomLineConsultancy.com or www.SolicitorSupermarket.biz

SOLICITORS FIRM WANTED Sole Practitioner looking to retire or looking for business succession options. Please contact 07919 348734.

Browse the magazine

Current Issue

The Gazette offers you up-to-the-minute national and international news, opinion, features, in-depth articles plus a jobs and appointments section.

Please click the link below for a digital edition