A HIGH Court judge today cautioned members of a remote jury not to “nod off” in their comfy cinema seats during a trial.

Lord Uist issued the stern warning at the start of a rape case in the High Court in Livingston.

It followed an incident last week in which a juror in previous trial appeared to fall asleep in the ‘Premium Comfort’ seating in the Odeon at Fort Kinnaird, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The judge told the new jury members, who are based 25 miles away from the courtroom: “I know that the jury centre you are in is a cinema with very comfortable seats. It must be regarded as being part of the court as these proceedings go ahead.

“I therefore ask you not to slouch back as though you were in the cinema, certainly not to nod off or even appear to nod off.”

He added: “We can see each of you as the trial is proceeding. I can understand the temptation to slouch back in a very comfortable seat.

“The only reason you’re not in court is because of the existing pandemic we have to keep the necessary physical distance between each of you. It’s not been easy to organise but fortunately it has.

“There can in present circumstances be no question of 15 of you being present in the jury box because that would run a potential risk to your health which we’re obliged to avoid.”

Last week Lord Uist challenged a juror for “stretching back and yawning” while evidence was being led.

He told the man: “It looks as though you might be falling asleep. I have to make sure all the jurors are paying attention.”

The judge also gave another juror a ticking off for using his mobile phone in the middle of a witness’s testimony.

In the new trial Devin Andrews, 18, of Skinner Steps, Cupar in Fife, denies three separate rape charges involving two 16-year-old girls at an address in Lochgelly, Fife.

He has lodged a special defence to each charge claiming that the complainers consented to sexual activity with him and that he believed them to be consenting.

The teenager is alleged to have assaulted the first of his alleged victims on an occasion in July 2018 by forcing her to perform a sex act on him, removing her lower clothing and repeatedly raping her.

He is charged with two counts of raping the second complainer between 1 July and 2 September 2018, firstly by penetrating her mouth and secondly by having sex with her without her consent.

The trial continues.