College Psychology students and members of the Court Club were joined yesterday by Sue and Phil from North Yorkshire Magistrates’ Court, for a very special session.
The Sixth Form College girls saw a glimpse into the workings of a Magistrates Court this week, as they took part in a Mock Trial. We caught up with the girls to hear more about the session.
Tell us what happened?
“The magistrates started off with an introduction of what happens before a case reaches the magistrates’ court, like a little summary, and then they held a Mock Trial.” – Eleanor (College I)
“In the Mock Trial we were given the roles of magistrates. They sit on benches of three, one in the centre who takes the lead, and two wingers. Everyone else was given all the other roles in the Courtroom. We read through a prepared script and then the magistrates had to decide on the sentencing. Sue and Phil talked us through the sentencing and how they categorised that.” – Olivia (College II)
“We then had a mini-break. When we came back, we listened to a Powerpoint of a real case. We had to decide whether they deserved a fine, a community sentence, or a prison sentence. We decided on the sentence with a show of hands.” – Tilly (College II)
“In this case, they revealed more information with each slide. We began with very limited information about the trial. As we progressed we learned more about the defendant, and also about the person against whom the crime had been committed. It was interesting to see how that changed our mind about what the sentence should be.” – Gemma (College II)
“The magistrates then told us some things about their job, what it is like, and they opened up for us to ask questions.” – Nessa (College I)
What do you feel you learned?
“I thought it was really interesting. I did not know magistrates are volunteers.” – Eleanor
“I did not know you could become a magistrate at such a young age, you can go into it from age of 18.” – Olivia
“I didn’t realise how much power they have. They actually decide whether a defendant goes to prison or not. That is quite a lot of power and responsibility on that person.” – Gemma
“I learned all about the various roles in court, there are more than I thought” – Nessa
“I felt it was a really good experience to learn from the magistrates, go through this exercise with them and be able to ask them our questions. I want to study Criminology at University, so it will be useful in my UCAS applications to demonstrate that I took part in this event with the magistrates.” – Alabama (College II)
This is not the first time the College girls have has the opportunity to speak with Law professionals. On International Women’s Day this year, Baroness Hale of Richmond took part in a virtual Question and Answer Session with Mount girls. She shared with the girls how important diversity is to make people feel included in the justice system. Questions asked by girls at The Mount included; What impact has an all-girls education had on your career? Is democracy in danger in the United Kingdom? Were there many people who opposed you being in the Supreme Court and how did that affect your job choices and achievements?
“Baroness Hale was approachable and such a lovely person. Listening to her inspired me. I’d love to give her memoirs a good read. Her experiences and the idea of taking up opportunities really stuck with me. The fact that she was coped against sexism in the past and overcame it to become the first female President of the Supreme Court it was genuinely inspiring.” – Denva