The chair of Stormont's Justice Committee has described the backlog of Crown Court cases in Northern Ireland as "wholly unacceptable".
His comments come after figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph showed a 48% hike in the number awaiting trial since the first lockdown last March.
This includes 23 murder and 36 rape cases as the full effects of the pandemic on our legal system emerge.
With victims awaiting the outcomes, and defendants remanded in custody far longer than could be reasonably expected, DUP MLA Paul Givan told this newspaper that the situation must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
"Justice delayed is justice denied to the victims of crime," said the Lagan Valley representative and Justice Committee chairman.
"The Covid health situation has not stopped criminal behaviour, including the most serious crimes of murder and sexual offences.
"It is therefore imperative the court systems function effectively, but instead it is failing victims and society."
Mr Givan said he will be meeting with the Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan to express his concerns, and will also raise the issue with Justice Minister Naomi Long.
The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, relate to Crown Court defendants that have had their first hearing following a decision to prosecute by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) and which have yet to be dealt with.
The Department of Justice has confirmed that the number of outstanding Crown Court cases has risen from 352 to 521 since the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Of those cases, 87 involve offences against the person, including murder, while 84 involve sexual offences, including rape.
Drug offences account for 54 cases awaiting trial, according to the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.
North Antrim MLA Jim Allister, a barrister, said the "very considerable backlog" is worrying.
"It's concerning that one of the casualties of Covid is the efficient functioning of the criminal justice system since there are issues of fundamental freedoms involved as well as the importance of bringing the guilty to justice," the TVU leader said.
"Anyone who turns out to be found not guilty if they've been in custody, they will have an added sense of grievance."
But he added: "I don't think there's an easy answer to this. You can't put 12 people into small jury rooms during Covid so they have to find much larger facilities and it's going to be difficult."
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told the Belfast Telegraph that the first lockdown "undoubtedly had an impact" on jury trials.
"Significant work was, however, undertaken by the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS), the PPS, the Judiciary and the legal profession to ensure that courts business did not completely grind to a halt last March," the spokesperson said.
"Jury trials resumed in August, with significant adaptations made to courtrooms at Laganside, Antrim, Craigavon, Coleraine, Newry and Dungannon, and protective measures introduced to ensure jury trials could proceed safely."
The spokesperson added that a Nightingale facility at the International Convention Centre in Belfast's Waterfront Hall came into operation, with a jury empanelment session, on January 4.
The first hearing, a Coroner's Court inquest, was held within the public health guidelines on January 18.
A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesperson said jails here have taken in thousands of new inmates since last March.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, approximately 3,000 people have been committed to prisons by the courts," they said.
"While the pandemic continues to be challenging, our staff support people whether they are on remand or have a custodial sentence."
The statistics show that fraud and forgery offences represent 25 cases awaiting trial, while 21 account for burglary offences.
There are 179 outstanding cases for a combination of offences.
The Justice Minister told the Assembly on Monday that the criminal court case backlog has reduced to 10,500.
Mrs Long also said that prior to lockdown there were 8,000 criminal cases in the court system, which rose to 12,800.
"With the reopening of more courts there have been more cases disposed by the courts than received and consequently the caseload has reduced," she told MLAs.
"The most recent information indicates that the figure now stands at around 10,500 cases - a significant achievement given that we have been battling against the effects of Covid."