PARTS of Edinburgh Sheriff Court had to be closed off yesterday after sewage water spilled into the cells area.
The stink caused by the “dirty water” caused several courts to call off business and cases still to call at the court were moved to a different part of the building.
A trial in the building’s Court 10 was also halted early after the odour became too pungent for court staff and jurors to bear.
The trial in front of Sheriff Frank Crowe was stopped at around 3pm, and he told jurors: “There have been some unforeseen difficulties in the building, ladies and gentlemen – something about sewage. The smell is vaguely in the background, but it has cost us as we could have had a bit more evidence. So we will break at the moment and resume tomorrow morning.”
A court spokesman said a blocked drain in the cells area of the building had been the cause and that workmen had been called in to fix the mess.
A court insider said: “The water was absolutely disgusting and you could smell it all through the building. Some of the staff complained of having to work in those conditions and the decision was made to close the area off. Fortunately, most of the day’s business had been dealt with but there were still some prisoners waiting to be seen and they had to be moved to another area.
A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service said: “A drain became blocked causing dirty water to back up to the cells floor which meant that business had to be moved from one of the courts nearest that part of the building to an alternative courtroom to enable direct access from the custody suite to the decant court.”