Friday, 11 May 2012

The Old Bailey


I was a little concerned when I received a request to attend the Central Criminal Courts at the Old Bailey, that is until I realised that it was an invitation to lunch with the Judges from Alderman Alan Yarrow, Sheriff of The City of London. In all there were nineteen judges and officials and four guests, so the conversation flowed. With 18 Courts handling some 1,700 cases per year, one of the topics was that of past cases, however the primary concern of the day was the strike of prison officers which restricted the flow of accused and had caused some of the Courts to close.

The Central Criminal Courts, which are owned and maintained by the City of London, date back to the 12th Century, the name Old Bailey originating from the Norman "baillie" or fortified place. Having been destroyed during the Peasants' Revolt, ransacked in the Gordon Riots, burnt down in the Great Fire of London and severely damaged during World War II it still stands to dispense justice.

Following the lunch we were offered the opportunity to see the Courts in action. In this case is was the beginnings of a murder trial in which there were four accused. This was a fascinating experience in terms of viewing the process and procedures, and particularly in observing the detail into which the prosecution delves.  

John Flynn
Master Marketor

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