Scotland

Text reminder for Scottish court witnesses

A text message scheme reminding witnesses to attend court is to be expanded across Scotland.

Witnesses failing to turn up at court are a common reason for trials being delayed.

The text initiative is said to be a "simple but effective" way of ensuring more cases go ahead.

The scheme is being rolled out across the country after a successful pilot project at Edinburgh Sheriff Court in January.

The reminders were sent three or four days before the court case and a survey found 90% of those who received the messages on their mobile phone found the service useful.

A total of 7% said they would not have attended court if they had not received the reminder text message.

Crown Agent Catherine Dyer: "This is a great example of how prosecutors, police and the courts can work together to come up with ways to use technology to make our justice system more efficient.

"This is one simple but effective method that we can use to help to reduce the number of trials delayed due to non-attendance of some witnesses and avoid the inconvenience and distress this can cause to other witnesses involved in the case."

Community safety and legal affairs minister Roseanna Cunningham said the scheme was part of a wider programme from the Scottish government's which "seeks to ensure that we have a modern justice system that is fair, accessible and efficient, and better meets the needs of the people of the Scotland".

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