Court visit opens students eyes
LEGAL studies students in years 11 and 12 at the Whitsunday Christian College were given a taste of ‘the real world’ on a visit to the Proserpine Magistrate’s Court this week.
The nine students sat wide-eyed in the public gallery during Monday’s weekly callover session, watching as a variety of cases played out.
“So now you know why I’ve got high blood pressure,” magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist told them after presiding over video links with prisoners and handing down a variety of penalties for a broad range of crimes.
Mr Stjernqvist also took the time to warn the students about the prevalence of drugs.
“[Today] you would have learned a lot about what not to do,” he said.
Police prosecutor Elizabeth Smith agreed it was good for the students to experience this “firsthand”.
“It’s one thing to be told [the seriousness of an offence but], it’s quite another for them to actually see the consequences,” she said.
“Plus it’s good for them to see the processes and how it all runs.”
Student Izzy de Jager said she was amazed by how “fast-paced” court was.
“[And] what I learnt was there really is no point belting out a sob story or denying the truth,” she said. Joshua Hart agreed. “What I learnt was that there is no lying to the system because you looked stupid and it is best to be honest,” he said.
Senior Legal Studies teacher Mandy Towle said the excursion exceeded her expectations.
“The magistrate, police prosecutor and court staff were very accommodating [and] they eagerly interacted with the students, offering information willingly to enhance students’ learning experience. I hope to take future legal studies students back [to court] due to this positive experience,” she said.
LESSON IN LAW: Whitsunday Christian College students Tanita Bassett, Sarah Tarver, Izzy de Jager, Caitlin Hutchison, Layton McGregor, Kyle Kunz, Stevie Smith, Lili Smith and Josh Hart, werer transfixed by magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist (centre) during a legal studies excursion to the Proserpine Magistrate's Court this week.