Our Psychology students visited Chester Crown Court on Wednesday 12th October - this is their account.
When we arrived at the court we had to go through a security check similar to an airport security check. We were told in advance that no mobile phones were allowed in court and no bags, so we were prepared and all passed through with nothing to declare!
Once we were all through, we were told to go and wait outside court number 1. We waited for a few minutes before the Clerk to the Court came out and gave us a brief review of the case and then introduced us to the barrister who was prosecuting the case.
We were then asked to take our seats in the public gallery and the different areas of the court were explained to us, including the bench where the judge sits and the box that the defence is taken to (called the dock).
The way that witnesses are treated was also explained to us and the elaborate steps that are taken to protect them, especially from the defendant, including putting curtains around the witness box. The barrister came to tell us about the case and what was likely to happen when the court session started.
The defendant was escorted in and once everything was in place, the judge came in and we were all asked to rise, and the court session started once we had been re-seated. The jury came in next and sat down opposite the public gallery. The trial was one that had started a few days before and continued with a video of the next witness. We saw the first part of the video and then we had to leave.
The group's teacher added that she was very proud of the students when the Clerk to the Court stopped her on the way out and expressed her opinion that they had been extremely well behaved and were welcome back at any time!