Recently students from Year 11 Legal Studies embarked on an excursion to the Supreme Court in Brisbane. The aim of the visit was to learn first-hand about the procedures and protocols of the justice system.
Upon arrival to the Brisbane courts, we were briefed on court etiquette before making our way through the security check. The class divided into groups to watch different proceedings in the criminal courts.
The trials we observed included theft, assault (actual bodily harm), sexual assault and drug-related offences. Fortunately, all the proceedings that day were for sentencing. It was fascinating to watch closely, how the judge deliberated on the facts of the case and the potential impact of any sentence on the defendant, the victim and society. Indeed, it was a learning experience to observe the emotional impact of the judge’s sentence on the defendant, their legal team and their family members in the public gallery.
At the end of the day, each group came back with information from different trials to share with the entire class. Some students had the good fortune to have a private talk with the judge from the trial they were observing. Justice Rackemann shared information not only on the trial process, but also some interesting facts about the architecture of the building, including how glass is extensively featured to represent the transparency of the justice system. Also, Justice Rackeman talked about the complexity of the construction in relation to the different entrances and the underground tunnels leading to the police cells across the street. The judge also explained the tradition of the wigs that all Barristers and Judges wear in the court room, which cost up to $5000 and are made from horse hair.
Overall, I am confident that the whole class found the day extremely interesting and a tremendous enhancement to our legal studies.
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