Goondiwindi High School 'legal studies' students spend morning at Magistrate's Court

Year 11 legal studies students at the Goondiwindi Magistrate's Court last week.
Year 11 legal studies students at the Goondiwindi Magistrate's Court last week.

Year 11 'legal studies' students have visited Goondiwindi Magistrate's Court.

They are studying "Beyond Reasonable Doubt". This introduces students to the Australian legal system, sources of law, and the roles of parliament and the courts.

"Students consider how criminal law attempts to safeguard individuals' right to freedom from interference, with society's need for order," senior teacher Bernie Bryan said. "They examine the consequences of alleged criminal behaviour in terms of trial processes, punishment and sentences."

"After our court visit we had a fairly animated class discussion," Ms Bryan said. "Points were raised about how fast and formal the proceedings were, the number of defendants who represented themselves and how keen the magistrate was to identify and understand any mitigating circumstances or remorse demonstrated.

"The students were impressed with how knowledgeable the magistrate was regarding a variety of acts and the applicable penalties and the interaction between the accused, police prosecutor and the magistrate."

The magistrate explained all criminal matters started in the magistrate's court and that is why they are always so busy. Students are currently completing an Inquiry Report about bail so he also spoke about this.

The students' interest in this subject range from curiosity about how laws are made and effect our lives. For some, interest developed from watching criminal shows on TV, and others are keen to go into the police force or a career as a lawyer.