A circuit court judge says he would encourage more young people to attend court to observe proceedings and learn of the dangers of getting involved in criminal activity.
Transition year pupils at Loreto Convent in Letterkenny, Aisling Walsh and Connie McCaul, who are undertaking their work experience placement with the Donegal Democrat, were recently given a comprehensive overview of how the court system works when they got the opportunity to meet with a circuit court judge.
Here they give an account of their experience:
“As part of our transition year work experience at the Donegal Democrat we were taken to the Letterkenny Courthouse for a day.
At Letterkenny Circuit Court we were welcomed by Judge John O’Hagan before sitting down to observe a very interesting trial and watched the barristers have it out with each other. At lunchtime the judge rose from the bench and came to meet us in the body of the court. He introduced us to barristers, a solicitor, a member of An Garda Siochana and a prison officer.
They each explained their roles in the court and how they got to their positions.
We learnt about how the clothes of the judge and the barrister represented different things, for example the tails of their collars represented the two tablets that Moses wrote the ten commandments on. They also have to wear wigs made of horse hair and the barrister’s are a different style to the judges. We had no idea about how many jobs are involved to insure that a court trial runs smoothly.
The judge sent a strong message saying young people should be mindful of three areas including getting involved with crimes related to public order, drugs or motoring offences. He was also very encouraging of more students attending court to watching proceedings.
We feel so lucky to have gotten that opportunity, and if we’ve learnt anything from our experience, it’s that we don’t want to end up in court for the wrong reasons.”