HARLOW College NCTJ journalism students recently embarked on an educational visit to Chelmsford’s Crown Court and Magistrates’ Court, to support their recent studies in media law and court reporting.
The students, accompanied by tutor Ken Eaton, were given an introductory talk before being shown around the cells beneath the Crown Court, with two students having the opportunity to experience being handcuffed by one of the officers.
Student Willow Jacobs-Harding said: “The handcuffs weren’t tight but I just felt like my personal space was being invaded.”
In contrast, classmate Jake Murphy said: “For a guy with skinny wrists they felt incredibly tight.”
The group then split up and entered the public gallery in two courtrooms to witness ongoing trials. One of these was a trial relating to a fatal road traffic collision while the other involved an alleged assault by a nightclub bouncer.
The class then crossed the road to visit the Magistrates’ Court, where one group witnessed a man being sentenced to ten weeks in custody for breaching a non-molestation order against his ex-partner.
This sentence would lead to the defendant losing his temporary accommodation, a fact that clearly caused him great distress as he remonstrated with the magistrate following the decision.
Overall the students found the visit an enlightening and worthwhile trip which contributed positively to their journalism studies.
Student Lucy Parish said: “I thought the trip to the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts was a very interesting experience that will stay with me for a long time. It is trips and experiences like this that prepare us for the fast-paced journalism and media industry.”