On Thursday the 19th of November, my Civic Social and Political Education class and I travelled to Naas Courthouse for a criminal case in the Circuit Court accompanied by Mr Marron, Mr Bowen and Mr. O’Reilly. Upon arrival at the courthouse we were greeted by the court administrator who brought us into the Family Law courtroom before we went into the main courtroom. She informed us of the case that morning (assault at a nightclub) and introduced us to the prosecuting solicitor and barrister before the case began.
We then entered the Circuit Court, which was a traditional old courtroom, took our seats at the back and then all rose when the judge entered the courtroom. Before the main case began, two people involved in separate incidents were brought before the court. They pleaded guilty to the charges read out by the registrar and one of their representatives asked for a psychiatric report, which the judge granted. That case was to be rescheduled to February. The main case then began without a jury as it was old evidence and there was no new evidence to be examined that day. Firstly, a Garda who was on duty the night of the assault was interviewed. He told the court he had brought the bouncer from the nightclub around Leixlip by car to identify a ‘man in a grey hoodie’ who had been spotted on CCTV footage. After a while it became evident that the man had not been identified.
Another Garda was sworn in under oath and confirmed that the prisoner who had been arrested made a ‘phone call to his solicitor. The DJ from the nightclub in question confirmed the presence of a man wearing a grey hoodie, with broken glass in hand immediately after the assault. A third Garda was then sworn in and he gave basic details about the interview undertaken with the prisoner on the day of the arrest. He also told the court that the prisoner wouldn’t accept food and was refusing to speak. Photographs were then taken of the man. Unfortunately, at this point we had to begin making our way back to Clongowes in time for a late lunch.
This part of our CSPE Junior Cert is worth 60% of the exam and is called the action project. My class and I greatly enjoyed our trip to Naas Courthouse and it gave us a great insight to the Irish legal system.
Fred Sargaison, Grammar