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Sample Essay Paper on Court Visit Report

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Sample Essay Paper on Court Visit Report

Introduction

Attending judicial proceedings is essential for one to acquire the first-hand experience on court proceedings. Such attendance has been made possible by the fact that Courts in England are open to the community and thus, allow for individuals to formally observe the happenings in a court,  appreciate and comprehend its functionality[1]. For example, an observer can get to understand how a barrister presents their arguments and also, how judgements are made. The paper is a report on observed proceedings of a criminal case (indicatable-only case)  presented  at the Crown Court on the 13th of June 2016. [2]

Terms of reference
  • Recorder

The obligation of a recorder, according to the law, is the active management of cases, the establishment of claims, assist in preparation for trials and delivery of judgements in both claims and disputed trials. As observed and dictated by law, the recorder presided over the case and offered directives in issues of law and in situations deemed necessary. Other individuals present in the courtroom were a court clerk, prosecution barrister, police constable, the defendant, defence barrister and 14 members of the jury with only 12 being chosen for the case ( 7 male, 5 female).

  • Jury

The function of a jury in the courtroom is determination of all issues of fact and this, sets the clear demarcation between the functionality of a judge or in this case a recorder, with the jury[3]. According to the Criminal Justice Act 2003, each individual is qualified to serve as a member of the jury in the Crown Court, High Court and County Court on record that he or she is a parliamentary or local government elector over the age of eighteen and beneath seventy years old[4]. The bench decreased to 12 members from the initial 14. However, it remains the legal requirement for a person to serve as a juror when called upon and refusal or absentia, attract appropriate legal action[5]. It is only fair a person be judged by his or her peers who are required to remain non-partisan and prohibited from disclosing any information as regards the case to third parties.The prosecution barrister explained the dynamics of the case to the jury.

  • Court Clerk

            The functions of the clerk includes but not strictly confined to cases calling, swearing in the witnesses, perusing of the arraignment and other general exercises inside the procedures of a case[6].  In a magistrate court, the clerk needs to be a lawyer tasked with clearing lawful matters for the magistrate as deemed necessary. However, in the Crown Court characterised by more professional judges and recorders, the individual does not have to be a lawyer and performs, judicial or quasi-judicial activities e.g. costing and taxing of bills[7].

  • Prosecution Barrister

         The prosecution barrister is the legal advisor tasked with the planning and indictment of a case in the interest of the state or Crown. The barristers likewise have the obligation of prompting the police amid investigations and sorting out the trial when the suspected individual is accused of a criminal offense[8]. More often than not, lawyers are closely linke with the Crown Prosecution Service. Here, the barrister calls upon the primary, second and the third witnesses. The primary two being the two local officers that made the arrest and the last witness a case officer. Last, was a drugs specialist and agent.. Therefore, it is implicit that prosecution barristers are charged with organising the trial and take the place of the state in this and similar legal matters and prosecutions.

  • Defence Barrister

        A barrister can only represent a respondent if they are briefed by the solicitor- instructions to counsel. The mentioned (instructions to counsel) include a short introduction of the case as written by the concerned solicitor, proof of evidence that includes a written statement from the defendant[9]. For the situation, solicitor or duty solicitor was absent amid the court happenings.

  • Defendant

     This alludes to the the person facing prosecution. For this situation, the respondent was facing charges in relation to being in possesion of drugs with the indictment through the arraignment barrister leveling the body of evidence against the accused for the state. The evidence presented compelled that he was found with the class A drugs- heroin and  cocaine as defined by the Misuse Act of 1971[10].

  • Police-constable

          The constable can be present in the courtroom for an array of reasons. One as the OIC ( officer-in-charge of the case) or as a witness to the case. A police constable can as well be present to corroborate a partner’s (investigation officer) testament[11]. The court proceedings involved two police officers called upon by the prosecution as the first and second witnesses. The second officer was in charge of seeking while the first was tasked with the arrest. Nonetheless, the presence of another member of the police force in the courtroom would mean him or her functioning as a court orderly- escorting witnesses to the witness box, calling entities summoned to appear in the court and carry exhibits between the prosecutor, defendant barrister and recorder.

  • Charges levelled against the defendant.

            Being held in the Crown Courts, the charges levelled against the accused were an indictable-only case. The defendant before the court was to answer fully to the charges brought forward and offer a defence to those accusations. A count is a note of complaint that highlights that a course of action that can progress to a lawsuit in a criminal court. In the case, it can be acknowledged that there was one count levelled against the defendant who was being accused of possession of Class A drugs.

  1. Count one: Class A Drug Possession

An expression was made by the prosecution that on the 31st of May, 2015, the  defendant was apprehended and brought forward to the police station for a search as the entity was suspected of possessing class A drugs. It can be denoted that the primary offences relating to the abuse of controlled substances are constituted under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971[12]. The defendant was found in possession of a  quarter ounce white powder (cocaine) and 1.5 grammes brown powder (heroin) both with a value totalling to 380 pounds. The offender was also found in possession of two mobile phones; one did not contain any link to involvement in drugs. In any case, the second telephone included two messages that demonstrated the association of the respondent to drugs and possession. The offence of possession can be connoted to be committed when an individual unlawfully is in physical or in control of any substance or product defined in the Act and had prior awareness of the substance despite the fact they did not know it was a controlled substance[13]. It extends to even when it was in possession of another individual and also if the entity believed it was another type of drug.

Findings

            The defendant conceed under the Misuse Drugs Act, section 4 (1) or section 5 (1) under the Act. The court procedures were seen to be well-spoken and took after a strict request with the affirmations sent against the accused read in the before the court by the prosecution. Toward the start of the case, the structure of the jury was changed from 14 to 12 which is the regular number of jurors required in a Crown Court case.

The prosecution barrister went ahead to introduce the three witnesses ( two police constables and a case officer) with each and every individual question by both the prosecution and the defence. The defendant also took the stand disagreeing with the intent to supply or sell the drugs and thus, pleading guilty. He claimed a prior addiction to heroin and cocaine that transcended from his motorcycle accident when he was 16, from where he was prescribed with dire-morphine. Therefore, the controlled substances acted as a replacement for the painkillers. It was observed that recorder presided over the proceedings with the court clerk present, prosecution barrister and police constable to the left of the courtroom and, the defence to the right. From the case, it was observed that the defence did not have its own witnesses and only provided counter arguments against the evidence and statements from the prosecution’s witness stand.

 

Conclusion

            In conclusion, the court proceedings provided enlightenment to the happenings in the courtroom. It provided the first-hand experience in the skill set, processes and functions,  and active interpretation of the law. The observations clearly depicted the roles of the participants in the Crown Court. The bureaucratic nature of the court was implicit with proper procedures followed from the onset to the end. Although the defendant made a guilty plea, argumentation from the defence can be highlighted to have been strategic with the prosecution charged with the responsibility despite the evidential burden on the defendant to prove that he lacked knowledge, belief or suspicion of the controlled substance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Banks P, Opinion Writing And Case Preparation.London:   Oxford University Press, 2014.

Cownie F, Bradney A and Burton M, English Legal System In Context. London: Oxford, 2013.

‘Drug Offences: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service’ (Cps.gov.uk, 2016) 

Gibson B, Cavadino P and Faulkner D, Introduction To The Criminal Justice Process. Sherfield UK: Waterside, 2002.

Gibson B, Cavadino P and Faulkner D, The Criminal Justice System. Sherfield UK: Waterside Press, 2008.

Hannibal M and Mountford L, Criminal Litigation Handbook. London: Oxford University Press, 2007.

Hirschel, J. David, William O. Wakefield, and Scott Sasse. Criminal Justice in England and the United States. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007.

Hunter J, Roberts C and Martin A, Studies In Crime. London: Routledge, 2013.

Ingman T, The English Legal Process. London: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Jacobson, Jessica, Gillian Hunter, and Amy Kirby. Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy. 2015.

Jason-Lloyd L, Misuse Of Drugs. Sheffield UK: Waterside Press, 2007.

McPhee I, Martin C and Sneider A, ‘Exploring The Consequences Of How Scotland Interprets The UK Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971’ (2012) 12 Drugs and Alcohol

[1] Jacobson, Jessica, Gillian Hunter, and Amy Kirby. Inside Crown Court: Personal Experiences and Questions of Legitimacy. 2015.

[2] Gibson B, Cavadino P and Faulkner D, The Criminal Justice System. Sherfield UK: Waterside Press, 2008

[3] Hannibal M and Mountford L, Criminal Litigation Handbook. London: Oxford University Press, 2007.

[4] Gibson B, Cavadino P and Faulkner D, Introduction To The Criminal Justice Process. Sherfield UK: Waterside, 2002.

[5] Hunter J, Roberts C and Martin A, Studies In Crime. London: Routledge, 2013.

[6] Ingman T, The English Legal Process. London: Oxford University Press, 2011.

[7] Hirschel, J. David, William O. Wakefield, and Scott Sasse. Criminal Justice in England and the United States. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2007.

[8] Cownie F, Bradney A and Burton M, English Legal System In Context. London: Oxford, 2013.

[9] Banks P, Opinion Writing And Case Preparation.London:   Oxford University Press, 2014.

 

[10] Jason-Lloyd L, Misuse Of Drugs. Sheffield UK: Waterside Press, 2007.

[11] Cownie F, Bradney A and Burton M, English Legal System In Context. London: Oxford, 2013.

 

[12] McPhee I, Martin C and Sneider A, ‘Exploring The Consequences Of How Scotland Interprets The UK Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971’ (2012) 12 Drugs and Alcohol Today

[13] ‘Drug Offences: Legal Guidance: The Crown Prosecution Service’ (Cps.gov.uk, 2016) <http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/drug_offences/> accessed 24 June 2016.

 

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