Manchester Crown Court has been revamped to create a space that is three times the size of a usual courtroom – allowing for trials with up to 12 defendants, which usually involve gang-related crime such as county lines drug trafficking, murders, and money laundering.

The trials that require this level of space – known as multi-handers – have built up during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the need for social distancing. The super courtroom will create the space needed to get through these cases at speed, while preventing disruption to other cases in the building.

The court will make best use of HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s (HMCTS) rapid rollout of remote technology since the pandemic hit. This means that defendants can continue to appear remotely by video. More importantly, it also makes it possible for vulnerable witnesses and victims to relay their evidence from outside the courtroom, reducing the potential distress caused by being in the same room as the defendants.


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