The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), in co-operation with the Ministry of the Interior, began the remote legal trial service as part of preventive measures taken by Qatar to combat coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The service was activated yesterday experimentally in the Court of First Instance, through video calling technology and advanced systems.
President of the Court of First Instance, Judge Ayedh bin Saad al-Qahtani, praised the constructive co-operation between the SJC and the Ministry of Interior in this regard, especially the Verdict Execution Department, the General Directorate of Information Systems, and the Communications Department of the Ministry of Interior.
Al-Qahtani said that the service allows the judge and the prosecutor, who are in their offices, to carry out their tasks remotely. He added that the judge will listen to the statements of the accused while he is in the police station, verify his identity, and complete the procedures of the session with him via video call and then issue a decision, either by renewing the imprisonment or releasing him. He pointed out that all the rights of the arrested are guaranteed through this video communication, where his lawyer is entitled to be at his side if requested.
Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Development of the Courts of the SJC Judge Nabil Abdullah al-Saadi explained that work in legislative and legal terms is also taking place within the current priorities of the Judicial System Development Initiative plan to prepare and ensure laws meet within the procedures that are being prepared for the activation of remote trials.
He pointed out that the best practices in this field are also recognised to ensure that remote trials are implemented in all courts efficiently through the online court system that was activated in Nov 2019. He stressed that courtrooms were equipped with the most advanced devices and technologies.
Head of Verdict Execution Department at the Ministry of Interior Colonel Saif Mohamed al-Khayarin said that the experimental broadcasting between the courts and police departments regarding the renewal of the pretrial detention or the release of detainees without the need to bring the arrestee to the court will save a lot of effort and time.
Al-Khayarin said that the new measure came in implementation of the decisions and instructions of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani regarding precautionary and preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic. He stressed that all requirements were provided in the relevant security departments. He added that the communication with prosecutors will be activated soon to conduct investigations in the initial accusation stages and to facilitate the conduct of trials for accused persons in penal institutions via video.
Head of the wire services department of the Communications Department in the Ministry of Interior Major Khaled Khalaf al-Jassiman said that the General Directorate of Information Systems and the Communications Department of the Ministry of Interior participated in the project as part of the transition to the use of modern technical means.
He added that the Communications Department has provided devices, screens and related technologies for the concerned departments to communicate with the courts and prosecutions. On the technical side, Lieutenant Engineer Abdulaziz al-Jufairi, the project officer, said that the system used is optical communication technology (AV), which is a highly secure network. He pointed out that the display screens are equipped with cameras used for visual communication, adding that the system provides communication with audio and video of the highest quality, which enables trials to be conducted with clarity.
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