Today I headed off to the Old Bailey with my Grandma to be a legal geek and watch a trial or some pre-trial applications.
The Old Bailey is such a beautiful old building inside and out and it is one of those hidden legal jems in London which is next to big office blocks etc. That is one of the things I love about London, off major roads there are a number of old significant buildings or streets with beautiful houses which are such a stark contrast to the modern buildings (plus lots of these buildings are legal related such as the beautiful buildings in the various Inns of Court). As someone that sat in the public gallery I was not able to have my phone on me, so I can’t show you how lovely and old it is from the inside!
My Grandma was on jury service at the Old Bailey in 1984 and had an extremely interesting case which lasted a number of weeks.
When we arrived this morning, I happened to recognise a barrister that I know extremely well (and even wrote one of my references for the Bar), what a small world!
We sat in on three cases today, and I really enjoyed hearing some of the applications to the judge especially as I had done these on various advocacy courses at university.
Whilst I can’t really say what I saw/heard in court today I can mention some things I noticed or what they were about to some extent.
One of the cases was linked to a previous matter surrounding Stephen Moyes and Robert Norman and the alleged claims that a prison officer at Belmarsh Prison was being paid to tell stories to a journalist, and today was a misconduct of public office.. and you can read some of the previous story over at the guardian link on http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/12/stephen-moyes-daily-mirror-news-world-prison-officer-sell-stories. What we heard was extremely interesting in terms of the pre-trial applications being made and the discussions being discussed when the jury were out of the room.
I used to sit in the public gallery quite a bit either with other people or by myself at various courts, and then also sit with barristers when on mini pupillages. I haven’t done the whole sitting in the public gallery in quite some time what with working so it was really nice to spend the day doing that.
One thing I always remember being taught by barristers is to always consider what the other side will ask your client, as it really helps you prepare your case. In one of the cases we saw today, when the defence were questioning their client I found myself making mental notes of what the prosecution should pick up on and mention when they cross examine.
I had a brilliant day, and it made me realise again why I sat in court so often before. Can’t wait to do it again! It was also really nice to see random members of the public there too, and quite a few people who were obviously on holiday sitting in on the odd case!