The impact of the coronavirus crisis on the justice system was laid bare at the hearing of a man who was due to be sentenced for breaking into an Airbnb flat.
Jacek Turek, 26, was told by Sheriff George Way that new restriction of liberty orders – which mean offenders are electronically tagged – are not being assessed at present.
The orders mean criminal justice services visit an offender’s property to install electronic monitoring equipment that relays information about the tag to contractors G4S.
However, the assessments are not being carried out at present due to concerns of security officers being at risk of contracting coronavirus.
In addition, social workers would not be able to carry out a telephone interview prior to his sentencing because he needs an interpreter.
These interviews are typically carried out face-to-face – but are being limited due to the spread of the Covid-19 bug.
Sheriff Way said: “I will defer for a criminal justice and social work report as there are no restriction of liberty order assessments being carried out, I believe.”
He asked the court social worker: “Realistically, am I going to get a (social work) report?”
The social worker replied: “I’ve been speaking to colleagues today – some were getting on videolink no problem and others were having problems.
“The worker in this case knows Mr Turek really well and could do it over telephone – but that wouldn’t work in this case as he has to have an interpreter.”
Turek, of Lansdowne Court, broke into a property on Lochee High Street on July 2 last year to find somewhere to sleep for the night.
He had been homeless at the time of the offence.
While there he stole an iron, later recovered by officers summoned to the flat, which was being let out by owner Amir Attiq on the short-term letting website.
He had also previously admitted possessing a knife on Victoria Street in May 2018, and breaching bail by being out with his home address during curfew on June 8, June 15, September 24 and October 15 and October 17 the same year.
The 26-year-old was remanded in custody for a further sentencing hearing on April 22, by which time it was anticipated social work reports would be ready and Sheriff John Rafferty, who had been handling the case, would be available.
Sheriff Way said: “In all the circumstances he is not a fit candidate for bail.”