Court visit opens stu­dents eyes

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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