Courts in England are open to the community, and one needs to visit a court in the course of their life so that they can get a first-hand experience of the happenings within the institution. Court visits allow interested parties to observe the proceedings of the court formally and get a complete comprehension of the justice system. An observer gets to appreciate how an advocate makes his arguments or even in special cases see some unrepresented defendants argue out their cases. I attended a court case in Crown Court at Portsmouth the Criminal Division and present, in this report, a description of the observations made during a hearing of a rape case.
Terms of reference
The term judge is used to refer to the individual who presides over the court proceedings in diverse levels and configurations of courts that include the Crown Courts. He or she is tasked with the responsibility of guaranteeing that there is modesty in the courtroom and that general rules are adhered to during trial. According to my observation, I could see the presiding judge offer guidance when there was a need to and issue directives as he deemed fit. Other people present in the court were the clerk, court reporter, police officer, defendant, and plaintiff. There were five witnesses, jurors, and members of the public who formed the audience.
The term refers to the aggrieved party that has come to the court to seek remedy for an alleged infringement of his or her rights. The claimant, in this case, a woman claimed that the defendant had sexually abused her by raping her against her will. The claimant was suing the defendant on the ground of sexual assault where she claimed that the defendant had raped her against her will.
The case was a trial by jury where the claimant accused the defendant of sexual harassment thereby violating her right to privacy, dignity, and choice. Five witnesses were presented by the prosecution who were to give account on behalf of the claimant. The claimant was a young lady and claimed that the defendant took advantage of her because she did not have a place to reside in and lacked the cash to meet her financial needs.
According to the law, this is an individual who has been accused of committing crimes against the claimant thereby violating her rights. A defendant has the option to either rebut or admit to those allegations and most often rebut them. In this particular case, the defendant denied the claims stating that he had been accused falsely and was being victimized because he had refused to pay £50 for sexual favors that had been given to him willingly. The defendant, who was not working at the time, allowed the claimant to move into his place six years ago and allowed her to sleep in the bedroom while he relocated to the front room. The two started cuddling after two weeks, and the claimant would allow the defendant to caress her for money, which she needed to buy heroin. The defendant asserts that he never took advantage of her and did not engage in sexual intercourse. The day he was allowed to participate in it, he was asked to pay £50 and after trying to engage in the act, he stopped because the claimant did not enjoy it. He was angry and refused to pay the money and claims that the claimant made false accusations of rape to compel him to pay up even though he is innocent.
The law emphasizes the use of a jury when deciding a case and the jury needs to be nonpartisan. It states that jury has to be prohibited from disclosing their findings to third parties and after the trial, they cannot be forced and even intimidated to give accounts of what happened. A jury is allowed to share their experience during the proceeding and up to the close of the case. In England, the obligation to act as a jury is fundamental, and attendance of jury during the proceedings is mandatory, and missing out on any proceedings may attract legal action. The main purpose of the jury is that they weigh up the evidence and make decisions on the true facts of the case thereby establishing what happened. The judge gave direction on the relevant law that the jury had to apply to the facts being presented on the case in a bid to reach their verdict. The judge will consider the verdict the jury will arrive at when deciding on the appropriate ruling.
The term refers to a party that has some information about the criminal action that was orchestrated by the defendant. When one is called to be a witness in a case, they are expected to support the prosecution’s case and the victim is often the primary witness for the national government in criminal trials, and the defense has the prerogative to summon their witnesses.
In most jurisdictions, the District Attorneys exemplifies the state and specifically in England they account for the régime in criminal trials. In this instance, the prosecution was acting solely on the behalf of both the claimant and the state, and he corroborated the evidence of the witness in order to assert the legitimacy of the accounts leveled against the defendant.
The term refers to a specialist in advocacy and is mandated to represent personages or even organizations in a court of law. They are often hired by solicitors to represent cases in courts and can only be involved when there are advocacy needs before a court.
viii) Charges leveled against defendant
The court case was a criminal liability action where the accused had to answer fully and offer the defense to the accusations leveled against him. A count is a note of complaint that states a course of action that can lead to a lawsuit in a criminal trial. In this specific case, there was one count leveled against the defendant who had been accused of rape.
Count one: Indecent assault.
Numerous republics have enacted laws as regards to sexual offenses that state that sexual assault stems from the lack of consent, breach of privacy, and unwanted touch. Sexual assault constitutes of any contact that is made by perpetrators that are acting without the consent and disregard of the victim’s warning. The law makes the observation that a lack of consent can stem from the inability of an individual to make conscience decisions or comprehend the consequences of those decisions. Perpetrators often have techniques of enticing and deceiving their victims by pretending to offer assistance to them but bring harm to them later on.
I found the court process to be procedural and guided by set rules that were adhered to strictly. At the beginning of the case, every person in the courtroom stood up as the judge entered the room and the judge read the allegations leveled against the accused and asked him to take a plea that he pleaded not guilty to. The judge then made an introduction of the jury and enquired from the defendant if he had any reservations on the structure of the jury. Since the defendant had none, the judge proceeded swiftly by summoning the first witness to the stand to narrate their account of the alleged crime. Both parties were given time to express themselves and everybody was expected to be completely silent when either party was presenting their arguments. There were numerous files and books especially on the stands utilized by the district attorney and the defendant’s counsel, and they could only speak to the audience with permission from the judge. The trial intensified, and lawyers engaged in a heated argument without shying off from the intimate details that are involved when handling a rape case. The judge had to adjourn the rape case to a future date, and as the proceedings ended, everyone had to stand up and show respect to the court.
I had a wonderful experience visiting the court as I gained knowledge of the court processes and function of interpreting the law. I managed to get a preview of the legal process and conduct necessary in the courtroom and noted how legal arguments can be made in an effective way.
Gerry, Felicity, Catarina Sjölin, and Lyndon Harris. Sexual Offences Handbook: Law, Practice and Procedure. 2014.
Hirschel, J. David, William O. Wakefield, and Scott Sasse. Criminal Justice in England and the United States. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007.
Jacobson, Jessica, Gillian Hunter, and Amy Kirby. Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy. 2015.
Jacobson, Jessica, Gillian Hunter, and Amy Kirby. Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy (2015).
 Hirschel, J. David, William O. Wakefield, and Scott Sasse. Criminal Justice in England and the United States (2007).
Hirschel, J. David, William O. Wakefield, and Scott Sasse. Criminal Justice in England and the United States (2007).
Gerry, Felicity, Catarina Sjölin, and Lyndon Harris. Sexual Offences Handbook: Law, Practice and Procedure. (2014).