Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Old Bailey on Friday 24th May

I arrived at the Central Criminal Court, known as the Old Bailey, via the discreet Lord Mayor's Entrance (did he need in the past to visit often and was a Lord Mayor sometimes in the dock?) off Ave Maria Lane. The building itself was ominously large and, on arrival, I was greeted by Sheriff Nigel Pullman, my host for luncheon and where the Office of Sheriffs and Secondary is also located. Here also the Recorder of London, His Hon Judge Peter Beaumont QC  and the Common Serjeant of London His Hon Judge Brian Barker QC also have their home here supported by fourteen other Judges.  Many famous trials have taken place at the Old Bailey.
After a glass of champagne we went through to lunch, which was a light one of soup, cheese and biscuits in the very large and gracious dining room.  The Sheriff and Recorders Fund is one the Marketors support, well known as a very relevant and important charity providing money and resources for former prisoners to help find accommodation, undertake training and return to gainful employment.  

After a very agreeable meeting and lunch, I learned there were no cases being heard that afternoon so I was able to give my thanks and escape early.  Is that the correct word to use?  I was offered the opportunity to visit again when one of those gripping and famous trials was underway.  It was a glimpse into a world that, for those involved, is all absorbing, but leaving by the Lord Mayor's exit and crossing the yard where the prison vans arrive and leave, I felt I had done justice to this visit!

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