Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service | ODEON partnership
After a long-standing partnership, we teamed up once again with ODEON to deliver an industry and judicial-first Remote Jury Centre project on behalf of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS). Initially introduced at 16 ODEON screens across Scotland, the partnership required us to deliver a secure live audio and video two-way solution which would enable Jurors to participate in trials remotely from cinema spaces; virtually imitating the court experience while adhering to social-distancing guidelines.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a major backlog of court cases had built up in Scotland and an innovative approach was needed to ease the pressure for the Criminal Justice System and increase court capacity. Remote and virtual events were already a core feature in the conference and events sector - changing the way delegates meet. This same approach was applied to the Criminal Justice System, via a secure platform.
Commencing in September 2020, the trials themselves have been held in court rooms, with the cinemas offering a safe and socially distanced location for the 15 Jurors. The Centres were initially located in 16 ODEON cinema screens and over the months have expanded to 45 screens across the width and breath of Scotland. The beauty of using the ODEON screens is that they’re not only easily accessible but provide first-class projection and audio systems, as well as having fast fibre internet connections.
What’s more, the cinema auditoriums are inherently large, providing ample room between each individual for social distancing, with tiered seating providing uninterrupted views of court proceedings.
After months of collaboration and logistical planning, a suite of technology was installed into the cinemas to facilitate the live and secure audio video links, including 16 HD PTZ cameras. These allow quick, easy and non-disruptive refocusing of jurors as needed during a trial and provide a live feed of each individual Jury member into the court room. This is displayed on a video wall for the benefit of the lawyers and judiciary teams. Our team utilised our Convene video conferencing platform to securely facilitate the recreation of the collaborative Court environment remotely.
The system allows the legal teams to show any physical or video evidence to the Jury. Utilising a dedicated technical team onsite, ODEON has access to ongoing support from our team which ensures the highest level of service from the equipment provided and services needed to facilitate trials through the Remote Jury Centres.
The project has expanded month after month to include ten ODEON sites spread across Scotland; linking into various High Court and Sheriff Court rooms. In total 40 ODEON auditoriums are being utilised as Remote Jury Centres; servicing around 45 different courts across the country.
Elliott Moores, Head of Sparq: “Pre-pandemic we had frequently live streamed to multiple locations from ODEON cinemas, so knew this was a tried and tested method that offered complete security for remote audiences, which is naturally of high importance.
“We were delighted when ODEON approached us to support them with the Remote Jury Centres’ project, and over the past 12 months have worked in collaboration with the site teams to deliver a seamless technical solution which has helped ease the backlog of trials. This project really has been incredibly rewarding to work on, and something I and the whole team are very proud of.”
Callum Hausrath, Project Manager, added: “The ODEON teams across all the cinemas are fantastic to work with and always go above and beyond to ensure everything runs smoothly. We have a fantastic team here at Sparq too and have employed over 45 technicians alone to oversee the day to day running of the project.”