With the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, it means that social distancing has to be practiced. This also means that certain activities that would involve many people being in the same room are no longer possible, at least for now. This includes judicial hearings and court appearances, but it does not mean that the law is put on hold.
Over in the UK, Judge Nicholas Barker has conducted what could be considered a world’s first, by handing down a jail sentence via Skype on his iPhone. Prior to this, the judge had been using his laptop to conduct hearings, but due to technical issues, the judge was forced to resort to using Skype on an iPhone to hand down a jail sentence to a certain Andrew Ryan, who was accused of stabbing his brother, Matthew Ryan.
The suspect was a former soldier who according to his lawyer, had suffered trauma during his military service and had a dependency on alcohol. The incident in question happened when Matthew encouraged his brother to attend a reunion with former colleagues, but an argument broke up in which Andrew grabbed a kitchen knife and attacked his brother.
As a result of the attack, Matthew sustained a cut on his hand and a 2cm wound on his chest which slightly punctured his lung. Andrew has since been sentenced to 26 months in jail. This would also not be the first time we’re hearing about sentences and rulings made virtually. Last month, a court in Singapore sentenced a man to death via a Zoom call.