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The Old Bailey and Comparative British and American Constitutional Law

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Essay title: The Old Bailey and Comparative British and American Constitutional Law

The Old Bailey and Comparative British and American Constitutional Law

The Old Bailey, also known as the Central Criminal Court, houses London's high criminal courts. Within the walls of this court located near St. Paul's cathedral many cases including murder charges, drug charges, grand theft charges, and other high criminal offences are heard. Juries of twelve sit and listen along with at least one presiding judge to the cases argued by barristers. The public galleries, located at the top of one side in each court, remain open to the public most of the day. These are the dimensions of the Old Bailey, but underneath these legal facets many of the most gruesome criminals in London appear before the courts pleading for their innocence through the litigating skills of London's top barristers.

June 22nd Court Six:

A man sits on trail for murder, and the prosecution questions a boy of 18 about his involvement in a man's death, his multiple stabbings, and his bloodied body. He left the YMCA with a group of his friends, traveled to a close park, and was asked to wear rubber gloves by his "friends" and continue with them. Little did he know, according to his testimony, his friends planned

to rob a man and kill him if he contested to their intrusion. The boy continually denied the allegations of the attorney and stuck to his story.

My time in this murder trial was very interesting for the brief time I was able to attend. The barristers, adorned in their various whigs and gowns, listened intently, took notes, and studied during the prosecutions questioning. As learned in class, their still remains a sense of historical intricacies within the court and its proceedings. Best represented by dress, other aspects of the case portray the way in which history has rooted itself in the English legal system. There were no objections that I heard and little interruption to the questioning. The judge had a very active and authoritative rule over the courtroom and would ask his own questions at points. The questioning barrister would have special consideration for the Judge when he was writing and needed a pause in the questioning, but the barrister picked up on the need for these courteous pauses without being told. Further, the councils of both the Prosecution and the Defense talked amongst themselves very little and passed notes for communication. There was a definite sense of silence throughout the court.

One interesting point was the questioning of the prosecution. His questions progressed aggressively with many leading questions, something only allowed in during cross examination in The United States criminal courts. The witness must have been called by the prosecution, yea the prosecution

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