Courting JusticePosted on: 06/11/2018
On the 28 September, my Year 10 Citizenship class went to the Royal Courts of Justice to act out a real-life court case. Once we arrived, the grand architecture caught our eyes and we were welcomed by a lady who was our teacher for the day along with a student who was in law school. We were escorted to to a very aged, civil courtroom, which dated back all the way to the reign of Queen Victoria. Considering that it was 152 years old, the courtroom was far from decrepit, the long tables were old fashioned and each table was connected to the next row. The seats were also joined to the tables and had very worn-out cushions; the room was filled with cupboards in each wall with dozens of ancient books, in which there were old cases documenting trials that had taken place in that very room - it gave an impression of a mini library.
We were informed that we were going to act-out a scenario in the court (the scenario was a boy, the defendant, who had participated in a crime by calling the victim). The victim was later stabbed and robbed by other members of the gang. The boy did not participate in the stabbing and robbery but was sentenced to five years in detention. The defendant thought the sentence was too long for his limited involvement and so appealed for this to be reduced.
Before the trip, our Citizenship teacher (Miss Stern) had divided our class into three categories: appellant (in favour of the defendant, the team I was put in), respondent (challenges the appellant) and judges (decide who has won). We were given 10 minutes to prepare our speeches for the case and after a long, astounding, heated battle, where both sides gave breath-taking speeches, the judges were given a tough decision to make. It was the respondent team that won! Congratulations to them! So this meant the defendant did not get a shorter sentence and his original sentence of 5 years remained the same. All in all, this was an amazing trip! I learnt so much fascinating information, and the fact that I can say I went to a real, traditional court and argued for the defendant, is an achievement in itself.
Shubhajan Gurung - Year 10