1.Which court did you attend and what was the date of your attendance?
Attended The Southport Magistrates Court, 22nd of April 2013.
2.What kind of hearing did you attend?
(e.g. sentence, summary trial, committal hearing, jury trial, mention, call-over etc)
I attended a sentencing of an arrest (custody) at The Southport Magistrates Court, before the sentencing there were a string of mentions that I also watched to further my understanding of the courtroom and the roles of the people there.
3.What were the charges against the defendant? Were these summary or indictable offences? How did you know this?
The charges against the defendant, were assault of a police officer, grievous bodily harm of a security officer and also drunk and disorderly. The Defendant had prior charges in 2003 of assault and has served time in prison. These were indictable offences, the defendant was held in custody for 9 days prior to his court date, I know these were indictable offences as the punishments were prison terms, and the defendant was held in custody until his case.
4.Who was present in the courtroom?
In the court room there were many different people playing their particular roles. The Judge looks over the case and in the system is seen to be an umpire. The Judge also determines the sentence based on the cases of both the defence and the crown. (Findlay, M., Odgers. S. & Yeo. S. 2005).
The bailiff's role is to keep order to the court and proceedings, The Bailiff conveyed papers and evidence from the Barristers to the Judges Associate or Judge himself, they also administer the oath for any witnesses, portray the pledge when the judge arrives and departs and also begins and concludes all sessions.
The Judges Associate is like a secretary, they sat in front of and below the Judge; they read out the charges and took the plea; they also proceed all documents with the Judges instruction.
The Defence Barrister is also present and assisted by a Solicitor. The Solicitor hires the Barrister and portrays instructions from the Defendant to the Barrister. The Barrister presents the Defendants case, giving the history and any information that belongs to the defendant to the Judge to help in making a decision in the sentencing.
The Defendant sat in a glass fenced room to the side of the court room, looked over by a police officer standing just outside the entrance to glass fenced room. The Defendant did not say anything until proceeded by his Barrister.
There were 2 other Police officers in the room which had no direct part within the court hearing.
5.Briefly describe what was happening in the courtroom.
Everyone was let into the courtroom by the Bailiff who then asked us to all rise as the Judge came into the courtroom. The Bailiff then asked us to be seated.
The we were given a short introduction of the case including the charges the Magistrate has brought against the Defendant and asks for arraignment of these charges. The Judge asks the Defendant to stand and the Judges Associate then read the charges and asked for the Defendants pleas. He plead guilty to all three charges then the Judge asked him to be seated.
The Bailiff then proceeded with the case, explaining the Defendants background, age and criminal record which were similar offences, which the Bailiff retrieved along with a schedule of facts and portrays these to the Judge. The Judge then took all this in and read the forms handed to him. The Judge took in that the Defendant pleaded guilty and asked the Barrister about compensation of the security guard that he had bitten on the inner thigh, and also the Officer which was assaulted. The Barrister then pleaded with the Judge informing that the security guard had only been bitten as a result of self defence as 5 security guards were pinning him to the ground one with a knee pressing his head into the...