On the 4 May, the Unit 1 and 2 Legal Studies class attended the County and Supreme Courts.
Judge O’Neil spoke about the court system, his personal journey in the legal field and some of his views on sentencing and the criminal and civil justice system. Students asked excellent questions about his most interesting case and the hardest part of his work. This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to hear Judge O’Neil’s valuable insight, and most students noted this as one of the highlight of their day.
Students then attended Judge Patrick’s courtroom. She gave the jury a brief adjournment so that she could explain to the students what the case was about and make sure they understood the evidence they were about to witness. The jury then returned and the court heard evidence from a prisoner who was testifying against the accused drug trafficker (3.4 kg of drugs). The barrister cross-examined the witness with great focus and aggression.
In the afternoon, students attended the Supreme Court. They met the Court education volunteer who had students perform a role play in an empty courtroom. The case study involved Catherine as the accused murderer of a fellow student, Tim was the judge’s associate, the prosecutor was James, with Keith as the defence lawyer. Sophie swore in the witnesses with Annabel, Jack and Steph giving evidence. Marina was the jury foreperson. Mitch and William were legal assistants. The students learnt a lot performing the court role play and also had great fun.
The Supreme Court case involved a 2014 crime. The first witness gave expert medical advice. The second witness was the police person in charge and he gave evidence about how the DNA was collected and also provided information about the weapon that was used in the crime (and submitted in to evidence).
Some comments from students who attended were ‘a very eye opening experience’, ‘interesting’, ‘I learnt so much’, ‘the judge gave us a good insight into what it is like working as a judge and how each court functions’, and ‘the legal excursion gave me a real insight into how the legal system works, and how different cases are handled..’
Students also said that it helped them connect the work from class to the outside world.