Claims jurors "forced to share lifts" with defendants at Kingston Crown Court
Jurors in the Kingston Mosque attack trial were forced to share lifts with defendants at Kingston Crown Court while the case was being heard, it has been claimed.
The Surrey Comet understands that the lift that normally holds jurors was out of action during the trial, due to refurbishment work on the unreliable elevators.
A source at the court, who asked not to be named, said: “You have already seen jurors in serious trials being forced into the same lift as defendants to the third floor as their lift is broken.”
The court declined to comment on the claims saying that it was a breach of security policy.
Court manager, Sean O’Brien, said: “I cannot confirm what arrangements we have for jurors within the building. This would be a breach of Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service security policy.”
Mr O’Brien said the 11 lifts in the 14-year-old building had become increasing unreliable but £500,000 funding had allowed a refurbishment.
The refurbishment follows a judge apologising to jury members after they spent 30 minutes trapped in a lift last July.
In another development at the court, digital recording equipment, which captures every second of court cases, has been introduced ending the tradition of court loggers, whose job in recent years was to record cases.
Lawyers and defendants have been warned the automatic system continuously records comings and goings in courtrooms, catching embarrassing or off-hand remarks made during breaks or lunchtimes.
The introduction of the digital Darts system at the end of March meant 17 court loggers, working for an outside company and running the old tape machines, have been left jobless.
Mr O’Brien said a back-up system was in place to avoid the risk of expensive break-downs, at a cost of £10k a day.
He said: “I feel personal sadness and do of course wish them well for the future and hope those that want it will be successful in gaining employment in the future.”