Murder trial adjourned for covid test

A juror in a trial of two people accused of murdering a woman in Lerwick is being tested for Covid 19.

Jury members in proceedings against Ross MacDougall, 32, and Dawn Smith,29, were expecting to hear closing speeches on Tuesday from lawyers in the case.

The pair are standing trial at the High Court in Edinburgh on an allegation that they murdered a woman called Tracy Walker in Lerwick in July 2019.

However, on the 13th day of proceedings on Tuesday, Lord Uist said the court would have to adjourn for the day. He told jury members, who have been hearing evidence via video conferencing technology in a cinema located five miles from the court, that their fellow juror was feeling unwell.

Lord Uist said: “As you may have noticed one of your number, juror number one, is missing and I am afraid we have come up against yet another problem in the course of this trial.”

That juror is said to be feeling unwell and was required to have a covid test.

Lord Uist said she couldn’t continue as a juror until she receives the result of the test which is expected later on Tuesday.

He added: “She is very keen to continue, which is understandable, and she hopes therefore she will be able to continue tomorrow.

“As a result we are really in the situation where we have no option at this stage but to adjourn the trial until tomorrow morning.”

Lord Uist said the situation was unfortunate but there was nothing that could be done.

He added: “I really do hope we will be able to start at 10am tomorrow with the speech of the advocate depute.”

Prosecutors claim that on 30th July 2019 at Ladies Drive in Lerwick, Smith had “without reasonable excuse or lawful authority” a knife. It is stated that this was “contrary to the Criminal Law (Consolidation) Scotland Act 1995.”

The second charge alleges that on the same date at the same location, MacDougall and Smith assaulted Ms Walker and inflicted “blunt force trauma to her head by means unknown.”

It is also alleged that the two accused compressed her neck with their hands and that they struck her repeatedly on the neck and hand with “a knife or similar instrument.”

Prosecutors claim that the two accused attempted to rob her of money and that they “did murder her.”

Both MacDougall and Smith have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The trial continues.


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