Breaking The Ice – The Depp v Heard Case

It is one of the biggest cases in Hollywood. Johnny Depp v Amber Heard. It has gone on for some years and I want to give my stupid opinion on it. Stupid? Yeah, because as mentioned in a previous post, people shout abuse and hate when you make more sense then they do.

Everybody seems to have jumped onto Depp’s side in this case. I really have no idea why. The evidence so far has show him to be an alcoholic and drug user, who punched and headbutted Amber, had violent drug induced rages and more. Yet, people still think she is the cause.

You know not long ago, during the Will Smith Oscars fiasco, people jumped to his side for assaulting a man because he was defending his wife apparently. Well, why are they not jumping to Amber Heard’s side, brave enough to speak out? I also posted on twitter that the evidence from the trial is actually support Her case more than His. Yet, people got angry commenting things like I need to improve thinking skills. You know, I didn’t side with either one of them, I highlighted what was being revealed in the case. This is the sort of brainwashed nonsense that happens when people jump on a bandwagon with zero knowledge of what has happened.

I stand with Amber Heard. I stand against abuse against women. Amber is seeking help. This case highlights the fact women can be treated so badly and nothing will happen. This is a defamation case, although Amber Heard should consider other options.

What do you think? People jump on the wagon of the most popular celebrity to garner social gossip.

The Coroners Court – the inquisition

Let me take you on a journey. It’s a warm and sunny day in middle England. Surely as the crows fly and the cars rumble along will there be an inquest at hand. Welcome, to the coroners court!

Surely as the crows fly and the cars rumble along will there be an inquest at hand.

me

The best experience a law student can gain in their summer period or time off is to either undertake some form of work experience within a firm or chambers or to visit the courts themselves. Many people are probably under the assumption that crown and magistrates courts are the only courts in the land. This is not the case; there are many courts, including the coroners court, the high court, the royal courts of justice, the supreme court! England didn’t begin to create the common law system for one bloody courthouse. Many centuries ago now, the courts would travel around England and impose the law as they arrived, not very effective at blanket law enforcement.

So, the coroners court, pour yourself some whiskey for the hours long inquisition into the death of an individual. Very much an individual. There is a presiding man or woman – I have no idea what there title or qualifications are. All rise, so I assume a judge of some variety, Apparently I was in luck as the woman overseeing todays case was the ‘top’ dog, or in other words, the boss of everyone else who works there apparently. Friendly staff and a much more welcoming atmosphere than the crown court. For one, there is no body scanner or “empty your pockets!” You are free to enter and the guy at the desk was apparently serving an apprenticeship – a great choice of area – and he was kind enough to give me the details of the court and the upcoming inquisition.

An inquest is the best to see and witness, and I enjoyed observing. The court was big and fresh, lots of breathable space. The session also lasted from 2:30pmto 5pm… two and a half hours! There was a brief 15 minute break around 4:15pm. Inside, in front of the judge is the clerk, and usually the room would be full but due to the current situation the doctor was communicating with the court with microsoft teams. It’s different to criminal proceedings, the family have access to a microphone and the overseer is much friendlier and more empathetic. I am interested in the work of coroners and the court process, but sadly I don’t know what law applies to these inquests, so that is something I’d like to learn more about.

The case today concerned the death of a family member who the family argued was released from hospital incorrectly as they were considerably ill, they later died at home after being discharged. The findings of the court was that the junior doctor had failed in their duty, and so did the accident and emergency department. I don’t really know what the family get out of it, as there was no mention of monetary compensation at the conclusion. There was mention of contacting the department for health and educating the juniors to avoid future recurrences. I’ll be honest, the hospital in question has a long list of questionable deaths that have previously been to the coroners court, and I myself have witnessed the dire performance and negligence within its walls. It’s the reason I refuse to be treated or seen there anymore.

I’ll be honest, the hospital in question has a long history of questionable deaths that have previously been to the coroners court, and I myself have witnessed the dire performance and negligence within its walls. It’s the reason I refuse to be treated or seen there anymore.

me

A somewhat emotional hearing, an inquest with family that have recently lost a mum, wife, grandmother etc, and who are grieving. Empathy and understanding go a long way and this is the reason the law needs to maintain high ethical and moral standard. Without it, we’d have a court system run by evil prejudice hylics! Maybe the conclusion was one that the family wanted. Throughout, even I could assess that it was the hospital and doctors failings that led to the death, and the court rightly found the same. I would have been pretty angry if it hadn’t. To deny the evidence and to avoid blaming those who are culpable is not the milkshake society I want to live in. Have courage to do justice.

It would be nice to return for a pre-inquest hearing – not sure if that’s the name – when all the press turn up to get the gossip. Why do I want to be there at the same time as the press? Because during my court visits I have been mistaken for the press, firstly by a barrister, secondly by the court usher and thirdly the ‘inmate security officers.’

I will add this, that I managed to see a brief amount of a case in the magistrates before heading to the coroners. The defendant was unrepresented. Honestly, I think considering they wanted counsel for a plea in mitigation, give me the papers and I’ll do it. But, I’m not qualified yet and I don’t fancy lying to assist the unassisted. Luckily, the magistrates postponed the sentence so he could discuss the issue with the duty solicitor. There is also 1 court open in the entire magistrates court building, an absolute joke. If you’ve followed the news, you’ll see that the backlog of cases in England is substantial and they have ‘nightingale courts’ open. Government take my advice, society has gone back to normal, nobody is concerned about the pandemic anymore. Open the courts and let all of its facilities be used… one courtroom a day means the running costs of the entire building.

Have a lovely evening all and may peace be with you!

Magistrates Court Visit: The Mage’s Lair

I was off out to the Greater Manchester area, to the town of Stockport. The picture above is from Bing images, but it is of Stockport magistrates court. The room made me feel as if I were in a Star Wars spaceship. The white tiles walls, with barely anything else, was alien! I was also the only one in the public gallery, again. Someone has to keep an eye on the system.

Dubbed the wild west of the criminal justice system, the magistrates court is the first point of call for the majority of criminal cases. The more serious offences, called indictable offences like robbery, serious assault, rape or murder can only be heard by a crown court.

Dubbed the wild west of the criminal justice system, the magistrates court is the first point of call for the majority of criminal cases.

Let’s dig into the differences and similarities between the Magistrates and Crown court.

First, and most notable, is that the bench consists of 3 magistrates. In front is a clerk or legal advisor, they are the ones who are most likely to have legal education and training, as the magistrates are essentially ‘uneducated in law.’ Next we have both the defence and prosecution lawyers, they are on their own table in front of both the clerk and magistrates, facing the bench. Today, the defendant was to the right inside a glass shielded box, the place they have to stand during the hearing.

The jury box was also empty today, as the hearings I entered were pleading hearings – not sure if that’s the right name! Oh well! Behind the lawyers or prosecution and defence counsel sits the public, that is where I was sat, and a gold rail was between me and the rest of the court room.

Crown courts generally have the same sort of feel and layout, although, the bench will consist of an actual legal judge. Sometimes a magistrates will host a district judge, and today, surprisingly, the court had a crown court operating within its walls. Barristers represent and prosecute in the crown court, where they wear their court regalia of black cloak and white wigs.

The dress code in the crown court is to be admired, because when you look at the suits being worn in the magistrates court, they do not look as serious or impressive. The usher was the only one wearing a black cloak. I call it the Voldemort cloak as it reminds me of the sort of clothes he wore in Philosopher stone. I was advised to come back in the mornings and on trial day, so I am going to head back tomorrow morning to try and see some. I don’t think I’ll post about that though.

An American flag displayed, although the layout is almost the same in the UK.
Westminster Magistrates Court

I saw 2 hearings, both relating to drink and drug driving. The first pleaded not guilty to drug driving and the second pleaded guilty to drink driving. I know from past experience that driving offences take up the majority of magistrates court cases. The defendant pleading not guilty will go onto a trial, where a jury will be present.

The defendant pleading guilty was to be sentenced straight away, although, in this hearing, defence cousel requested further assessments of the defendant’s mental health and similar, and therefore it was postponed or adjourned.

Check out the useful video below on the magistrates court :

Thanks for reading. Have you ever been in one of these court rooms?

University Tour & Crown Court Visit

Hi. I’ve had a fairly active day compared to the usual slob and yawn.

I visited the University of Law campus for a tour. After being allowed to enter the modern building, I was literally on my way up in the elevator to the 4th floor.

The campus is very modern, clean and the available staff were friendly, as expected as prospective students are forking out around £15,000 for the bar course with masters. So, for that price I expect an escort on arrival and an oriental breakfast. Not this time I’m afraid (take note university).

The university comprises small classrooms and lecture theatres, boasting pro bono facilities, mock trials and all the advocacy training a potential barrister may need. The university also teaches business courses along with the LLB and GDL.

Overall the tour was decent. It lasted an hour from 10am to 11am. I would have liked to see some more bar course students and teaching staff, but of course, only a skeleton crew sufficed… if they could blame global warming for the pandemic they would. (I think they have).

Next I was on a journey to a public building in a public place supposedly conducting public hearings. I phoned the crown court yesterday to check that the public can now observe. On arrival, as with everything, I had to use the voice of reason and explain the previous days conversation and government guidance regarding court visits. I was ‘allowed’ on ‘this’ day. I find that extremely laughable, that a public court that has no right to refuse the public access to observe court, can ‘choose’ to let me in. You know, it isn’t the lawyers spouting this nonsense, it’s the other ‘security’ and ‘staff.’

One might think I had walked into an occult meeting, all these masked fellows and blokes and women wearing gowns and wigs and acting suspicious. No, I was under suspicion, in fact, I was the only member of the public there. I am not kidding, I saw no other member of the public. I even had to be escorted around by a covid marshal, although he was rather friendly and helped me find a court I could enter.

I ended up in the most magnificent of court rooms, ancient, elite wooden beams echoing the cries of the past, black and white ceilings, the old smell of dusty furniture and age. I was having a huge anxiety attack.

It happens

Don’t forget the massive lights, more like chandeliers, six of them. I had the patience to watch a few cases or trials. I was not in luck as this courtroom was predominantly dealing with sentencing. I was the only member of the public in the public gallery. I felt as if this was a huge stab in the back of justice. Why are the public seats empty? Five or so rows of red velvet lined benches, easy to keep people separated. But no. The public need to be in court to witness the proceedings to ensure a fair process, without this, these are essentially private hearings, conducted under the head of state and with potential to miscarry justice.

I didn’t witness anything bad or out of line. In fact a lovely barrister came and chatted to me for while before the hearing. I felt more at ease and assured after this. Partly because I was going into the same room (which I had waited for quite some time to do – the reluctance of the staff to let me in court rooms was reaching levels of delusions) and partly because she was giving me information about the case which I found great and of use for when the defendant entered the dock for sentencing.

I heard 2 sentencing hearings, if that is the official name. I enjoyed the experience. It is quite daunting to observe in such a big and strange room, with such old décor and manners, a sort of 17th century experience. The visit didn’t come without some emotions of course. Aside from being nervous, I was genuinely sorry for both the defendants. Seeing people get sent to prison is not a nice thing, and must be even harder to experience. I didn’t expect to feel this way and that is why I am writing about it. Practice trials, mooting and mock trials can only come so close to the real experience.

I was off out of court by 1pm, time to head back to Manchester Piccadilly train station and head home.

I hope this has been of interest to you all. Stay safe.