Outside it’s a cold and windy Tuesday, but inside it’s all heating up in the grand underbelly of the Manchester Crown Court. The defendant has taken his stand at the back of the room and one by one the jury are swearing themselves in. Of course while I’m at no liberty to disclose any information on the trials my group of visitors and I were privileged enough to watch unfold, it’s safe to say that it was a different and very interesting day.
When most of us think of a trial in Court we might imagine the Americanised version of events with heated arguing, shouting and hands waving all over the place. Manchester Crown Court was however, nothing like that at all. During each case that we witnessed, the case was calmly presented by the defendant’s lawyer and the prosecutor and we were lucky enough to be present during a trial sentencing where the judge had to consider the case and guidelines. After deciding on the sentence the judge was kind enough to stay behind and explain to us how he came to his conclusion. Being equipped with guidelines the judges need to consider elements such as earlier convictions, damage of the victim and many other factors in order to arrive at a just and fair sentence.
Visiting the Crown Court is not just something that people from a law or criminology background can get something out of; it’s a learning experience sure to stimulate and engage the mind of anyone with even a basic interest in how the British justice system works. Seeing the process up close gives you a new kind of respect for the men and women whose job it is to work in this environment day in day out, and sheds a whole new light on how unpredictable and different each day can be.
Luckily the only thing I was ruled guilty of at the end of my day in court was having a great time.
Joining events like these will not only give you a great learning experience but will also gain you MMU Futures points! To look up more events have a look at our Activities Page