Year 11 Legal Studies Excursion

Just like last year, the SCOTS PGC Year 11 Legal Studies class had a fantastic, albeit long day trip to Brisbane. Heading off at 6.00am, 13 students and Mr Lee made exceptional time to Brisbane, even with the morning traffic, we arrived at the front gates of the Queensland Parliament spot on time.

After a short walk through the Queensland University of Technology, and a stop for coffee at the School of Business, we went straight through the extraordinary Queensland University of Technology Law Library, and into our “You Be the Judge” session held in the QUT Moot Court. With Miss Amelia Meek looking forward to her time in the witness box, trying to help out her mate Miss Jessica Brierley on her drug trafficking charge, the session began. In front of our three Judges, their Honours Morton, Rhode and Keddy, we rose at the instruction of Bailiff Shooter, and the charges were presented by prosecutor Proudlove, S. Miss Brierley’s defence was strong thanks to the performance of Defence Counsel Naylor, C. The remainder of the class provided plenty of administrative and moral advice in terms of sentence length and reasoning, with a particular Counsel Liebenberg being rather vocal from the sidelines in determining the absolute guilt of Ms Brierley and the length of her sentence.

The session ended with students being close in their sentencing, to the actual sentence handed down by a judge in the real case. Miss Brierly appeared non-flustered with a four-year sentence, three years of which were suspended. I think she was just looking forward to the upcoming hour of free time in Central Brisbane.

BUT, before that, we were welcomed into a first year Criminal Law Lecture in the Z Block lecture theatre. Wide eyed our students took a seat with quite a few to choose from amongst the 400 other seats in the lecture theatre. Up the back, looking down at the speck of a lecturer working through his PowerPoint, there were some noticeable smirks on the faces of those who had undertaken some mooting at the SCOTS PGC, as the lecturer very swiftly moved through the very same concepts and cases spoken about throughout the previous months.

Eventually, it was time to go our own ways for a short period for a bit of retail therapy. Yet, we were soon to all meet up again and walk together to the Supreme Court of Queensland where, once through security, we entered court 18, bowing to Judge Devereaux, and taking a seat to hear day 1 of a 3 day trial where the defendant (nervously defending himself without legal assistance) had been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm. The complainant was in the stand being examined and cross-examined during our time in the court. Upon exiting the court 18 the words “exciting”, “precise”, and “dramatic” could be heard coming from the students’ mouths. Courts 23 and 26 might not have been as “exciting” but certainly provided students with an interesting look at the beginning and conclusion of the court processes. Court 23 with Judge Moynihan was in the midst of prosecution summations surrounding an allegation of wounding (with a machete to the head) with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (really?), and Court 26 with Justice Jaro was at the very beginning of their case deciding what expert reports were relevant to their case; a civil matter being heard against Hungry Jacks, arising from the tragic death of a young child in their car park.

The court sessions ended with both the students and Mr Lee wondering if the defendant in the abuse case was guilty, pulling the facts that they had heard apart, and commenting on the experience being quite surreal – just like a very badly acted TV show. Then, as it was slowly dawning that this was real life, with real people, and real sentences due to be handed down, the bus home to Warwick beckoned.