Thursday, 5 January 2012

At the Old Bailey, but not in handcuffs......

Happy New Year and let’s hope that 2012 ends more auspiciously than 2011!

We have just returned from a super two weeks in Switzerland with Number One Daughter and her family and much cheese, chocolate and wurst (not in that order) was eaten by all.

My first formal engagement was on Thursday January 5, which was lunch with Sheriff Wendy Mead at The Old Bailey. (For my American readers – the Sheriff wears a red gown and chain – not a Stetson and silver star.)

The Central Criminal Court, which is in Old Bailey, hence the name, stands on the site of the West Gate of the Roman City of London and the medieval gate on which the notorious Newgate Prison was built. The Court’s jurisdiction includes not only the City of London but also all of England and Wales and British ships abroad.

The description states “the Court attracted to it the most notorious of criminals, the most odious of crimes, the most eloquent of advocates and some of the finest judges” and of course it is the most famous Court in England.

Sheriff Mead hosted the lunch with the Alderman on Duty. As well as the guests there were also a number of Judges and Recorders – twenty of us in all. It was a lovely and relaxed occasion and the discussion ranged over a number of subjects. I was delighted to find that the judge on my right was also from Johannesburg and went to the “brother” school of my own school so we could compare notes. (I doubt that the seating was by chance!)

We also commented on the significant contribution that South Africans have made to the law in the UK with three Law Lords and what a brain drain there was from South Africa in earlier decades.

There was a chance to go and observe one of the cases being heard but I have done this before so declined. Of course yesterday this would have been impossible as judgment was given on the Stephen Lawrence murder – an end to only one chapter of the story.

Click here to read more about Sheriff Wendy Mead and here to read about The Old Bailey.

No comments:

Post a Comment