A pilot scheme of virtual court hearings for Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) applications to ensure social distancing rules are kept during these coronavirus times is operating in North Wales.
The regional police force’s assistant solicitor Gareth Preston spearheaded establishment of the system which has seen all domestic violence cases moved to a courtroom in Mold to be heard by a district judge and their legal adviser with everyone else online or on a telephone.
Relevant documents are sent by e-mail.
“Even the defendant can attend remotely and brief the duty solicitor by phone and we have actually had a couple of cases which have been contested and that’s important because we mustn’t disadvantage the accused,” said Preston.
The Covid-19 lockdown means it is impractical for hearings often attended by seven people, including three magistrates, to take place.
North Wales Police says the online process is receiving attention from other forces in Wales and England.
Read our CEO Mark Groves article in The Times discussing how ‘Court technology can help domestic abuse victims’