Thursday, 1 March 2012

Mini-Pupillage - Day 3 15/2/2012

So, the third and final day with Eddie came around. As he had expected to be in the middle of a two day trial it came as a surprise to both of us when we were back at Kingston for a one day robbery trial. The information I didn't have was that it was an 11am start - so my turning up at 8.45 to enjoy more 'costa' from the robing room was entirely pointless.

Eddie (prosecuting again) arrived, introduced himself to the witnesses, the usual rigmarole, and we went into court.

Our jury was selected, sworn in, and got ready to hear the indictment.

It was the first time I had ever seen a jury burst out laughing.

You see, the defendant was charged with robbery, in that he took ONE POUND from the victim.

Frankly, if I hadn't read the facts of the case, I would have burst out laughing as well. On first viewing, it seems bizarre that the CPS would think that it was in the interests of justice to proceed over a matter of £1. The costs of the trial, the barristers, having everyone turn up to court, and all that jazz, would easily cost several thousand pounds - all for an offence over a one pound coin.

But the papers disclosed a very different story. The vast majority of people reading this will, I imagine, already have some kind of legal education, so I apologise for being dull:

Robbery is effectively "theft with force". Basically, it is separated from a simple theft by virtue of the fact that the perpetrator used some form of violence, or a threat of violence, in the course of the theft.

In this case, the robber had attacked a teenage schoolboy at a bus stop, pinned him up against the bus shelter, and then went through his pockets. All he found was a £1 coin - the change from the boy's lunch money. The boy wasn't badly injured, but he certainly got some bruises, and experienced a thoroughly rotten time.

When this was explained to the jury by Eddie in his opening speech, their laughter soon turned into disgust. Frankly the rest of the trial was unnecessary at this point, Eddie's opening speech meant they would have convicted the Pope. Eddie painted the picture of innocent boy, on his way home from school, attacked, frightened, hands going in and out of his pockets as he was pinned to the side of the bus shelter. The defendant didn't leave the scene, instead he just stood there waiting for a bus. Eddie painted him as violent, a threat to children, and (frankly) callous for just standing there with his victim.

Thankfully someone had seen the attack from the other side of the road, and the police were there within minutes.

What the jury didn't know, as it was ruled inadmissible in the PCMH, was that when the police turned up, the defendant whipped out his todger and pissed all over their shoes. Lovely chap.

The trial went without a hitch, the evidence was overwhelming, the ID evidence from the victim and the other witness was impeccable, and the defendant's defence (I was begging he gave me the money willingly, honest) was looked upon with scorn.

Trial was done and dusted in three hours, the jury was done in thirty minutes, and we'd finished for the day by half 3.

The three days with Eddie were the perfect start to reading week, and a useful perk up half way through the bar course, to keep my eye on the prize. I love mini-pupillages, but every time I just feel incredibly jealous of the people who get to do it, properly, every day.

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