SCOTLAND’S Justice Board has said it is confident the country’s criminal justice system can be modernised, after revised plans were published in a new report.

Proposals could see some sentencing imposed digitally, without a court appearance, for guilty pleas, as well as a new method of keeping witnesses informed when called.

It comes after a review of an earlier report – A New Model for Summary Criminal Court Procedure.

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The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) will now seek support of the Scottish Government for wider public consultation.

Eric McQueen, chief executive of SCTS, said: “The proposals put forward in our earlier report were radical in promoting wider use of digital technology, supported by strong case management and clear timescales.

“Through the public roadshows there has been good debate and a wide range of views expressed which set out the opportunities and challenges.

“Taking all of those views into account, the cross-justice working group who developed the proposals, is of the opinion that with appropriate amendment of the original proposals, there is scope to develop the model for potential legislation and implementation.

“This will include further consideration of the financial as well as procedural implications of moving towards a more digitally enabled system."

Defence agents, voluntary organisations, the judiciary, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and court staff, other justice organisations and members of the public gave their views to the initial report.

Core proposals also include making sure there is no automatic setting of an intermediate diet and trial diet on a not guilty plea, with witnesses only cited when a trial diet is ready and likely to proceed.