THE trial of a man accused of sexually molesting a child in the 1980s continues - but the new Covid-19 national lockdown is already having an impact on Worcester's courts.

Anthony Lane, 78, of Mayflower Road, Droitwich denies 13 indecent assaults against the girl in Droitwich between 1986 and 1989. His trial at Worcester Crown Court began on Monday. The case was able to continue with 11 jurors after the new lockdown III restrictions had an impact on schools and therefore childcare arrangements for one juror who was discharged.

Judge Nicolas Cartwright explained the situation to the remaining jurors who are able to remain for the trial and reassured them that the court was Covid-secure and their safety was paramount.

"I'm bound to say it didn't take me by surprise" said the judge who is presiding over Lane's trial.

Read about the case opening here

The judge also laid out to them the official Government position that the Criminal Justice System must remain open and is an essential public service.

"Our buildings - that is the court estates around that country that are operating trials - remain Covid-secure with public health experts saying or existing arrangements are safe in dealing with the challenges provided by the new mutation of the virus. The way to control the virus is the same whatever the variant," he said.

Jurors are protected by perspex screens, the courts are cleaned regularly. Holy books are kept in plastic sleeves and ushers handle them using gloves. Masks are worn in communal areas and people are asked to maintain social distance.

"Your safety is of paramount importance and takes precedence over other considerations" the judge told them.

As previously reported, the complainant in the case, who says the abuse began when she was 13, has already given evidence from the witness box. Lane submitted prepared statements in police interview and declined to answer further questions.

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Meanwhile, other trials could also get underway at Worcester Crown Court today. In court three a jury could potentially begin hearing the trial of either Michael Dack or Jason Asbury. James Evans is scheduled to be sentenced in court one this afternoon.