JUSTICE must not be compromised as a result of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a Fife MSP has warned.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure local courts re-open as soon as possible with courts in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy currently shut.

In a statement to Parliament on the Justice Sector Response, the Scottish Government advised there were no immediate plans to resume jury trials in Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy and that victims of crime may need to travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow to attend court.

Ms Baker highlighted the need for local courts to be operational as soon as possible and has called for measures to ensure the delivery of local justice does not have to wait until temporary courts are established.

The MSP said: “The local delivery of justice is important for victims and witnesses and we need to see local court proceedings resumed as soon as possible.

"While the planned resumption of a small number of jury trials in Glasgow and Edinburgh is a welcome step, this means people will have to travel for these cases.

"I have asked the Scottish Government to consider what steps can be taken to return justice to local areas ahead of the creation of temporary courts.

"There is already a significant backlog of cases and victims should not have to wait further for a trial date if it can be avoided."

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Dunfermline MSP, said: "I'm keen to see jury trials restart in Dunfermline – but only once the risk to everyone involved has been significantly reduced.

"We should remember that courts across Scotland were closed due to an unprecedented public health crisis and it would be irresponsible to try to re-open them early.

"COVID-19 has not gone away and while no-one wants victims of crime to be left waiting for a trial date, we are on a gradual return to normality and the work being carried out is crucial in ensuring public safety."