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 Telepresence used for Criminal Court Proceedings

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Date posted: 11/01/2017

Entertainer Rolf Harris's trial for sexual misconduct started earlier today (11th of January 2017). Normally, the case and its allegations would be of no interest for the subjects covered on VWN, but the way the court case is being heard is definitely interesting – it's occurring with the defendant using video conference telepresence to appear, whilst physically being a good many miles away. Probably the first time such a virtual presence technique has been used in criminal law cases, and definitely the first time for the UK.

The 86 year old man will remain at Stafford Prison during the trial, in order to protect him from the public backlash to his alleged crimes – transporting him to and from the courthouse was simply too dangerous. So, he will virtually sit in the courtroom for the full trial – expected to take five weeks - visible to all other participants on a large wide screen, flat panel TV, upon which he sits behind a desk, dressed as is appropriate for court.

The system used is a full video conferencing suite with atmospheric pick-up microphone and cameras in court, so he can see and hear everything that is going on, and fully interact with members of the court.

The judge told the jury the arrangement was possible because the courts had "finally woken up to the reality that we live in a digital world".

See the full Story via external site: www.bbc.co.uk

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