A SCOTTISH sheriff has refused to deal with any more court cases using a video link after encountering technical issues.

Sheriff Graeme Napier described the technology which has been used increasingly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as "appalling".

The first high court trial in Scotland since lockdown got under way in Edinburgh in mid-July using video technology.

Digital technology was installed to allow the jury to watch the case from a different room within the court building on the Royal Mile.

The High Court hears the most serious criminal cases in the land, with sixteen trials normally running every day in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Livingston.

But the backlog that had existed before lockdown has grown.

Sheriff courts around Scotland have been following suit, with some cases being conducted using video links for social distancing reasons.

READ MORE: 'Legal challenge' on coronavirus delays to rape case trials

Now one sheriff has seemingly called a halt to his use of the technology after reportedly suffering distortion when trying to speak during one case.

He said on Tuesday: “I’m not doing any more links by video. This is just appalling.”

He later added: “I’m told we’re not doing full committals here because of the lack of technology.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service said: “We can confirm that audio difficulties were encountered during a video link hearing being attended from prison by an accused person.

“Investigations into the cause of the problem are being carried out. A number of hearings were rescheduled but no business was lost.”

In June, sheriff courts across Scotland implemented social distancing measures as they move to a post-pandemic justice system.

Courts implemented restrictions and measures as staff juggle balancing public safety and public access to the justice system.

Members of the public were also currently unable to view hearings in person, though video feeds were available in certain cases.

But last month, MSPs were told that a backlog of sheriff court cases in Scotland could take up to a decade to clear without extra capacity being created.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service (SCTS) chief executive Eric McQueen told MSPs there were already 14,000 outstanding cases before lockdown.

He said the figure was expected to rise to 27,000 by the end of the month.

Last month it emerged that rape campaigners were considering a legal challenge to the Scottish Government over what they believe could be “unlawful” delays to sex trials during the coronavirus crisis.

It came as it emerged there was a backlog of some 750 High Court cases of all kinds that have been put on hold both during the lockdown and under current social distancing rules.

The Scottish Government, backed by much of the legal establishment, had refused to abandon trial by jury, even as a stopgap during the pandemic.

The number of people behind bars on remand jumped over the summer, from about 1,400 at the beginning of June to nearly 1,900 early this month.