Trip to Aylesbury Crown Court
To assist the Year 13 students with applying their knowledge and understanding of Court processes, I took them to Aylesbury Crown Court for a morning with His Honour Judge Sheridan. Judge Sheridan is a Circuit Judge, who presides over Crown Courts across the Thames Valley Region. He has residency in Aylesbury but occasionally travels over to Reading Crown Court for a murder case.
Aylesbury Crown Court has moved after nearly 300 years of service at the bottom of Market Square to the old Magistrates’ Court building off Walton Street. This is due to funding cuts of the Justice system, and is very disappointing as the old court had a lot of character and history. The feel of it used to ‘scare’ a lot of defendants into pleading guilty on the first day of trial, known in practice as “court door syndrome”.
The students, as always, were very fortunate to have Judge Sheridan look after them for the morning. He is very encouraging of students entering the profession, and spoke to each of them individually about their ambitions and choices for life post Sixth Form.
During the morning, we observed a wide range of hearings: not guilty pleas and directions for trial, through to sentences. We were lucky enough to see some high-profile cases, including two famous You-Tubers who were charged with trespass/burglary of the Sno-Zone in Milton Keynes. The students were highly amused that this case had gone before the Crown Court for stealing a cup of tea! Also, on a darker level, we observed the sentencing of a convicted paedophile – one who had been snared by a vigilante group. Quite shockingly, Sheridan told us that 85% of cases he hears now involve sex abuse.
The students really enjoyed the day and it provides context to their studies; they now have a better understanding of process and the role of solicitors, barristers and members of the judiciary.
Copy the link below to see an article about the Crown Court being moved: it includes photographs of the inside, which have never been allowed before.
Miss Davies, Team Leader of Law