News In Focus
Prisoner has appeal heard by videoconference in High Court first
11 October 2012
A prisoner has become the first appellant to the High Court to have his case heard as he joined the court by videolink.
Christopher Wilkie appeared on screen from prison in Glasgow as the appeal court decided that his conviction for assault to severe injury and danger of life should be reduced to assault to injury.
A split screen showed Wilkie in a room in Barlinnie prison and the judges, court staff and lawyers in the courtroom in Edinburgh.
Wilkie had been charged with chasing Paul Scroggie, kicking and punching him and repeatedly stabbing him on the body with a pair of scissors or similar instrument. A jury at Dundee Sheriff Court had deleted the allegation of stabbing and Lord Carloway said it was only the stabbing that could have resulted in severe injury or danger to life.
Sentence was reduced from 40 months to 16 months in line with the conviction.
A Scottish Court Service spokesperson said: "Expanding the use of video technology in conducting cases is part of the wider Scottish Government's Making Justice Work programme"
It would require legislation to permit video links to be used for criminal trials, but s 80 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003 allows for them to be used at certain types of hearing at which no evidence is to be led.
"While it's only being piloted for appeal cases at the moment, the intention is to expand the pilot in the future to other aspects of criminal business", the spokesperson added.