A trip to the Criminal Court of Justice was held on 11th June 2015.
The Criminal Courts of Justice is the principal courts building for the criminal courts in Ireland. The building opened in 2010 and is completely bomb-proof. The building is spacious and almost looks like a shopping centre. On entering the building, it opens up to a galleria, which is specifically designed to induce a friendly atmosphere.
The court houses the Dublin Metropolitan District Court, the Dublin Circuit Court, the Central Criminal Court, Special Criminal Court, and the Court of Appeal. The building has facilities to hold prisoners in the basement. There are separate rooms for jurors with their own court entrances in order to keep them separate from the public.
The Guided Tour
A nice young barrister acted as a guide for our group. Under her guidance, students attempted a mock trial – with barristers’ gowns! On the witness stand were a bible and a Koran, which shows Ireland has become multi-cultural. The courtroom is fully equipped with modern technology – mics and TV screens.
The Court Case
The students attended an actual court case after the tour. The case was about a man who had a workshop in Dublin South where he and his brother supposedly made counterfeit clothing of a large American company.
A Garda Detective who raided the workshop was called as a witness. Unlike TV court case dramas, all the questioning and answering were done in a very quiet manner. The barristers both made a statement and asked the witness whether the statement was right: perhaps it is a way of avoiding leading questions or stopping witnesses from making irrelevant comments. The prosecuting barrister seemed rather unprepared for the case and mumbled a little so that at first it was hard to understand what the case was about, whereas the defending barrister seemed experienced. One of the witnesses was a man who worked for the company in question and whose job was to look for any counterfeit products. He worked in liaison with Garda. It shows how a big corporation tries to protect its brand and in that sense it is quite an interesting case.