A MAN charged with making a false statement as a crown court witness has admitted the offence - but only via his barrister.

Ben Miller faces one count of wilfully making a false statement in judicial proceedings.

Prosecutors say that the 26-year-old of Oakwood Way, Cumnor, made a statement which was 'material' in proceedings at court that was knowingly false or was untrue.

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The offence is said to have taken place at Oxford Crown Court on November 20 2018 when Miller was sworn as a witness in proceedings.

He was expected to enter a plea at a hearing held at Oxford Crown Court yesterday.

However, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Oxford court is operating a policy of social distancing and defendants are only in attendance via videolink.

Speaking to the court through the use of telephone Miller's defence barrister Alistair Grainger said that his client intended to plead guilty to the offence.

As a result presiding Judge Ian Pringle QC - who was present, albeit sat not in the judge's chair but on the row the barrister's normally occupy to keep an appropriate distance from his clerk - set a timetable for a sentencing hearing.

He also ordered that the National Probation Service begin to compile a pre-sentence report on Miller.

That report will explore all sentencing options for the offence.

The case was adjourned and a future sentencing hearing date was pencilled in to be held at the same court on May 7.