As part of the Crime and Deviance topic for the sociology A Level course, Year 12 sociology students, with Mr Poole and Miss Guthrie, were given the opportunity to visit Gloucester Crown Court. It was a great chance to gain an insight into the judiciary system and how it works in practice. In addition, we were able to experience a real trial take place. The Court itself is very traditional with the public gallery placed above the proceedings; this is where we were sat and this gave us a view of the whole Court room. Despite being above everyone we still felt close to the action!
The first trial we watched was a sentencing of a male who had attempted to steal a fryer from a store on two occasions. He was given a number of fines but the judge did warn him that this was his last chance. The man was given a suspended sentence which means that he must be very careful about his future conduct. We then saw the opening of a trial which involved a man who had been caught in possession of class A drug and criminal property. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges. It was very interesting to see the jury being selected and then sworn in and we were able to fully understand the case due to the explanation given to them by the prosecution. Evidence was given via video link from a police officer who was there at the arrest, and after giving his evidence for the prosecution he faced the defence barrister who cross examined him. Sadly we were unable to see the whole case due to the lack of time we had at the court.
Overall the trip was a great experience which will assist our understanding of the Crime and Deviance topic. It also allowed any aspiring lawyers an opportunity to see the role of legal professionals in action. One noticeable aspect of the day was that the judge and many of the barristers were female. This would have been unthinkable some years ago and it shows the progress being made by women in the contemporary UK.
All students enjoyed the trip and thank you to Mr Poole for organising it.
Becca Lowther, Year 12 Sociology student