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Recorder of Southwark pledges to reconnect 'aloof' crown court with community

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Saturday 12 May 2012 10.15pm
Dress like a human being?
Sunday 13 May 2012 2.43am
C'mon, he himself joked about the ceremonial attire.

This being , where he comes across as a sensible bloke.

To me it seems rather more shocking that schools couldn't be bothered to take him up on this offer:

"Daily I and my fellow judges see the ghastly, corrosive effect of local crime much of it knife crime, much of it gang related."

He added: "I can't help thinking that my court could do something more to help in the fight against crime.

"Soon after arriving at Inner London Crown Court, I tried to start an initiative by writing to the local schools and inviting them to send groups for visits: to watch a case in action, meet a judge, to sit in the dock.

"Very, very few replies were received sadly none of them positive."
Sunday 13 May 2012 8.22am
It is a shame, but it's probably because teachers are unfamiliar with courts so can't see why kids would benefit from a visit.

Perhaps people on the forum with kids could encourage their schools to take him up on the offer. I have always found going to court quite fascinating but in many ways very sad.
Sunday 13 May 2012 10.08pm
I guess the important point is that we have the right to be judged by our peers - a jury - in this country in most cases (and all that go to Crown Court where he sits).

One potential outcome of court visits by schools Is that more people knew that that was their fate if they get charged with a crime (instead of some kind of denial because the judge looks daft or doesn't understand them)

I'm baffled as to why the teachers are all disinterested. Perhaps they don't even know how courts work, or find it too right wing or authoritarian. But given that even in the best schools teenagers do end up in front of courts (or worse still, aspire to be a lawyer....joke....) it has to be a good thing.
Sunday 13 May 2012 11.12pm
Taking school kids out on a visit is a pain in the neck for teachers. The law requires a risk assessment be completed. Letters have to be sent out to parents in advance, work has to be set for those that choose not to go, and work has to be set for lessons that will be missed by the teachers who are out on the visit (one per 10-15 pupils depending upon location and/or organisation being visited). Coaches are too expensive, and traveling on public transport with 25 kids is a nightmare. (Fortunately though, they don't have to pay on public transport anymore - except the tube - and so there is no money to collect and record.) So, a visit to a courtroom becomes a major bit of organisation for the teacher, and if you would want all the children in one year group to benefit from the experience, you would have to do this about 8 times per year. Kind of puts you off a bit!
Sunday 13 May 2012 11.46pm
Sorry about this. I am an OAP so may be a sandwich short of a picnic.

But a judge wants to "reconnect" to the community. So when where they last connected?

For most kids in SE1 the last place they want to go is a court. Correctly.
There are programmes that keep kids away from courts, there are lots, the one I am close to is Oasis in Waterloo.But there are lots of others, the bewigged nutter would do better to talk these programmes than offer useless platitudes from his bench.
Monday 14 May 2012 6.49am
How unimaginative of the schools. I'd take my kids (or grandkids now) like a shot. I'm impressed by the initiative and think children would really benefit from seeing what REALLy happens (not just on TV) and it might even deter a few from getting there themselves.
Monday 14 May 2012 7.15am
I was waiting for a lefty teacher to say how hard it is to do a school trip. How sad that that local teachers can't be bothered to organise a trip to the court at the invite of the recorder. I'm sure there are plenty of children who'd put their hands up to go on a visit, anything to break the monotony of school. I am sure the recorder is not asking primary school children to go and you could check what cases you hear before sitting in the public gallery.
Why don't the schools ask their more mature last year of GCSE or their six formers. I'm sure each local school would have a small group of keen interested youngsters who could walk to the court or shock horror even make their own way there.
Monday 14 May 2012 2.54pm
duncr wrote:
I was waiting for a lefty teacher to say how hard it is to do a school trip. How sad that that local teachers can't be bothered to organise a trip to the court at the invite of the recorder...

I can only assume you're responding to Karen I's post? Do tell, how do you know she's a "lefty teacher"?
Monday 14 May 2012 5.07pm
I think every effort done to take kids out of the court is gold worth. I have to say that sadly in yhe last few years our area is becoming more and more populated with kids spending te whole day on some stairs smoking dope. And that is the only thing they will do for our. Even if the sum is shining they will hide and smoke dope all day. It is the most disgraceful loss of adolescent time I can imagine.
But it won't be a court record to change them, they need to learn how to use the time in a positive way. But How can you achieve this?
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