Stratford Magistrate Court Observation Examples

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Magistrate courts are lower courts in the hierarchy of courts in England and Wales where all criminal proceedings starts. Some civil matters such as family proceedings are also dealt with by the Magistrates court. While the Magistrate court has limited sentencing powers, more serious crimes such as rape and murder cases are passed on to the Crown court which has more sentencing powers and wide range of punishments. Appeals on cases decided by the crown courts usually go to a high court, court of appeal or the Supreme Court. Cases in the magistrate courts are usually heard by a district Judge or by a bench of magistrates known has lay judges. No jury is present at a magistrate court.
This essay focuses on a subjective court observation that took place at Stratford Magistrate court on the 17th of December 2014. I arrived at Stratford Magistrate court around 1:30 pm – introduced myself to the security and informed him of my objective to observe a hearing for my assessment. He was very helpful as I checked in through the metal detector and he informed me that the court was on break and the proceedings will
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It then became apparent that it was a case of common assault– the defendant’s lawyer cross examines the witness shortly after, her first question was to establish the witness’ relationship with the defendant and how they got along as neighbours. It emerged that they did not really come in contact with each other as witness lived 9 floors from the ground. Defendant’s lawyer further asked how she was able to see the whole altercation with such clarity from 9 floors above the ground. Victim claimed to have a balcony with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area around her flat – defendant’s lawyer then asked the victim if she called the police to report what she had witnessed but the witness responded to the question by claiming to have called another neighbour

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