Monday, 31 October 2011

Breakfast at the Old Bailey

The breakfast last Wednesday was held to promote the good work undertaken by the Sheriffs and Recorder's Fund. Serendipitously it was hosted by his Honour Judge Peter Beaumont, whose daughter went to the same school and is a good friend of my daughter, so he was not unknown to me. He talked about the workings of the old Bailey and the complicated logistics involved in the moving around of prisoners during a trial. He took us to visit the famous number one court. Whilst beautiful it is not, he explained, at all efficient as a court room not least because of the layout with the jury unable to see the witness at anything other than a sideways angle.
We also saw a more modern court, one of 18 at the Old Bailey, with its recently constructed glass screen in front of where the accused stands.Necessary he explained to prevent the accused from leaping out and rushing across the court room and punching the judge in the face as happened to an unfortunate lady judge not so long ago.
At breakfast Lady Prue Davies, Chairman of the Fund talked about the work of the charity which is focused on helping ex-prisoners get a new start in life and on relieving hardship in the families of serving offenders. It does this to help re-offending by making grants for training, tools of the trade, clothing and household equipment. One of the beneficiaries of the Trust, a reformed character, was at breakfast to pay tribute to what the Fund had done for him to help him put his life back on the straight and narrow. This is a charity not only of great efficiency but also of great compassion. I am glad the Marketors regularly support it.

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