In addition to Comparative Criminal Trail Advocacy, I am also working an internship that has resulting in me spending a great deal of time in Magistrates’ Court, so in this write-up I’m going to incorporate my observations from my intership as well as the court visit.
One of the common themes that have developed over my visits to Magistrates’ Court, is disorganization. First, the duty solicitors will arrive to the courthouse around 9 am, but in some instances do not receive the necessary paperwork form the prosecution until 1 in the afternoon. This means that for the bulk of the duty day, the duty solicitors have nothing they can do, and the bulk of the working day is wasted. Once the solicitors finally do received the necessary paperwork, there is often serious mistakes in the paperwork that prevent the carrying out of justice. In one instance, the duty solicitor actually received blank paperwork, in another, the duty solicitor received paperwork for a prior offense that had already been handled. The defendant in that case was prepared to plead guilty to the charged offense, but since the Crown couldn’t find the necessary paperwork, the court ended up dismissing the charges against the defendant. This to me is a complete failure of the criminal justice system, a miscarriage if you will.
Since it takes the duty solicitor so long to receive the paperwork, they are often rushed to finish the court’s docket before the court adjourns. This means the defense counsel often only spends minutes with the defendant before being expected to provide important legal advice and formulate legal arguments for the defendant. Often this occurs without the solicitor having the opportunity to evaluate the actual evi...
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...ictim has highly emotion, maybe even traumatized about something that had happened to her, but was embarrassed to talked to the witness about it. However, I’m not certain that that the witness was highly reliable, as she had to be corrected by the judge as to the age of the children she worked with.
As for the second witness, the witness and the prosecutor engaged in a line-by-line reading of the witnesses interview of the defendant, despite the fact that a video of the interview had been made. I don’t see this line-by-line reading as being an effective strategy, because I don’t believe the jury would have the attention span to pay attention to the reading for the required period of time. Additional, nether reader was doing anything to emphasize important points during the reading, which means they likely lost the jury within five minutes and never regain them.
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