Day 2 – July 9th 2014
Mr. T was in Wales on a different case, so there was some waiting around in chambers trying to find someone else doing something mildly interesting that would let me shadow them. Eventually another barrister who we shall call Mr. W answered and said I could go down and see him. I was taken to him by two of the chambers clerks (who are both really lovely!).
It took some time to track Mr. W down in the Crown Court and once we had he said he was busy ‘running about’ so told me to wait outside the court room that he would be working in. I went down and waited some time there, then he came and told me he was sorry but it was actually the room next to it and not that one (lol). We went there and had a little chat, and I also got to talk to a CPS advocate (who was technically a solicitor with higher advocacy rights) about his job too. Then we watched someone submit their guilty pleas for a range of charges regarding benefit fraud essentially. The judge decided not to sentence him then and there and instead to adjourn so that they cold obtain a pre-sentence report from the probation service and also to give the defence a chance to get a proper medical report done too.
After that was the sentencing hearing that Mr. W was involved in. He was prosecuting counsel, and it was for a man who have a jury trial had been found guilty of sexual offences towards a close relative. This was a pretty complex case in the sense that the victim was being wholly uncooperative, refusing to write a victim impact statement or anything like that because as I say they are a very close relative which obviously brings up a number of sensitive issues. The defence was seeking to lift the man’s sexual offences prevention order lifted which Mr. W was arguing shouldn’t be done. In any case, the judge decided to adjourn the hearing in order to get a report from the police as to their opinion in light of the complexity and sensitivity of the case.
Finally I was told that the rest of the family of the first man – the man who pleaded guilty to a number of benefit fraud charges – were all being put on trial for benefit fraud also. I was going to go and see that, but I’m still not totally sure about court etiquette, and I wasn’t sure if I could just go in. It was also a pretty big case with a lot of counsel involved so basically my anxiety struck too much (Mr. W had gone off to do paperwork and things) so I sat outside awhile and then gave up and went for my lunch early.
I went back to chambers in the afternoon to see if they could set me up with someone else for the afternoon. I had to wait 40 minutes to then be told that there was nothing going on in the afternoon other than conferences that they wouldn’t let me sit in, so I went home. Tomorrow a lot of the court staff are on strike so lots of cases will not be heard so I anticipate there will be problems finding me things to see then too but we will see. It was nice to finish early today to be honest because I am exhausted!