My first visit to the magistrates court was very intriguing. I confirmed my interest in investigative journalism. There was always a spark of interest in things crime-related for me but after the court visit it’s definite . As cheesy as it sounds I felt like a kid at a candy store except my candy store included law breakers being sentenced. I gained more knowledge on the court itself . I previously thought that in a magistrate court there would only be trials with the three magistrates , however being there I saw they also had trials with only the actual judge. In the trials I witnessed there was also a clerk who read out the case to the judge and helped with advice throughout the trial.
One case that particularly caught my eye was one where the offender had committed arson. A patient at a mental health centre set fire to his room and part of his ward. The offence included a lot of smoke and fire damage to goods. The judge made it clear that if the offender plead not guilty that the trial would have to be taken to the crown court however if he plead guilty that his sentence would be decided right there and then at the magistrates court. After understanding this the offender plead guilty and accepted all charges against him. Before the judge made any final decision both her and the clerk looked over previous offences to influence the decision. The final sentence was a fine for the offender.