A MAN charged with trying to kill a woman has been given a date for his trial, but a court judge warned he was 'not optimistic' it would even go ahead.

Mark Lally denies one count of attempted murder.

Prosecutors allege that the 50-year-old of Wootton Road, Abingdon, attempted to kill a woman in Abingdon on November 27 last year.

He appeared via videolink at Oxford Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing today.

At that hearing a trial date was pencilled in for the case to be heard on August 17.

That trial is expected to last up to five days.

Presiding Judge Peter Ross, however, warned that the trial date, in the midst of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, was not certain to go ahead.

He said: "I cannot say that I am optimistic.

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"I would love to think that we will be able get this trial on the 17th but I have real concerns over this.

"We will deal with this on a date by date basis as more information becomes available."

Lally was remanded in custody to await his day of trial.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic most jury trials are currently suspended with existing dates already moved to later in the year.

The extraordinary decision was made on March 23 as the country went into lockdown.

This week some court centres were allowed to resume jury trials, observing strict social distancing measures.

The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Burnett of Maldon, announced earlier this month that the Old Bailey and Cardiff Crown Court would be the first centres to restart cases.

Reading Crown Court is due to begin new jury trials in the coming weeks with no official date set for Oxford yet.