Students learn more about the court system
HOW penalties are decided and what happens when a person fails to show up in court were just two of the questions asked of magistrate Ron Muirhead and police prosecutor Elizabeth Cassells by students from Proserpine State High School (PSHS) on Monday.
The Year 10 students took a field trip to the Proserpine Magistrate’s Court where they sat in on the weekly proceedings as part of their legal studies course.
During their time at the court the students were able to see the justice system at work in a variety of cases and when the callover session was finished, there was an opportunity for a question-and-answer session.
“How do you come up with a number for the fines?” one of the students asked.
“It’s a good question,” Mr Muirhead replied, explaining that that there were a range of penalties for various offences, with minimum and maximum amounts.
Ms Cassells went on to explain the types of cases that could be dealt with in the Magistrate’s Court and those that must be committed to a higher court, such as the district or supreme courts.
“[But] everything starts in the Magistrate’s Court,” she said.
“You might ultimately end up in the Supreme Court [but] it starts here, so we see everything basically.”
PSHS teacher Ian Bell said the field trip provided an opportunity for students to see how the law worked in practice, not just in theory.
“They gained a better understanding of the different levels of seriousness of crimes and the way the court system deals with citizens and I think the other thing they gained from it is the way the court system is very open to the public,” he said.
15-year-old Patrick Mahood said it was certainly an interesting experience. “We’ve learned all about it in class so it was good to actually be there,” he said.
LESSONS IN LAW: Proserpine State High School students Dean Searle and Patrick Mahood (left) and Cassie Thompson and Chloe Van Bergen (right) and teacher Ian Bell (centre), attended the Proserpine Magistrate's Court on Monday as part of the Year 10 legal studies course.