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Law Society talk from HHJ Jefferies QC

In early January we were informed, by Mr Wallace that His Honour Judge Jefferies QC has agreed to give a talk at our school and answer questions after we attended the Bar Mock trial competition. Despite the short notice the event was well attended by pupils from Year 10 through to Year 13.

On Monday 13th January at 3:30pm, around 25 students piled into one classroom and waited for his arrival. When he arrived and sat down he first gave a 15 minute speech on how he had reached his point in his career and was very truthful in the dedication, hard work and competitiveness it takes to be a Barrister.

The opening speech

He first talked of his background and I, myself and many other classmates, were pleasantly surprised to learn that his family were not of what you would expect. His Father was a bus driver and he grew up on a council estate in Warrington with no one in his family having a connection in law. His sister went on to be a cleaner whereas he decided to study law at University where he stated himself that he “didn’t know the difference between a barrister and solicitor” when he first started.

 He also acknowledges the disadvantage of being Northern when entering an industry such as Law. It seems quite unbelievable and yet impressive that his journey has gone from thinking the Inns of court was a “pub crawl” around London, to being a QC and changing the law itself by standing by his views and morals.  

A line of questioning

After finishing his speech, the floor opened to questions. These varied from wanting his opinion on a certain topic or wanting to know more about his life and the challenges he has faced. Or even asking an experienced barrister the questions you have always wanted answered when concerning the profession. Here are some of the most interesting questions:

  • “Has your background had a huge impact on your career path thus far?”.  To this question he once again stated the disadvantages of having a Northern accent when becoming a barrister but stated that it helped when talking to a jury because it can be easier to connect with them.
  • “Do you have any moral implications in your line of work?”. Due to political reasons he would only ever be on the Defence team. He did not mind letting the guilty walk free but has more implications when a man he believed to be innocent is found guilty.
  • “What’s the biggest/most serious vase you have ever worked on?”. To this question he gave two cases. The first one was one of his most famous cases on the subject of recklessness. This case was called R v G&R (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_G) and he explained the facts of the case and outlined the problems he had with the verdict as he felt that is was unjust to have young boys aged 11 and 12 to be treated as adults. The second case was not named but told of how another young boy gave gruesome details of a case for hours and said it was the worst evidence he had ever heard.

The closing speech

Although there were many more questioned to be asked, Judge Jefferies offered his assistance to us by asking us to send an email if we had anymore enquiries and departed from the classroom. We intend to receive more talks from experts in Law and associated subjects. However everyone who attended agreed that this was a once in a life time experience.

Harvey Hodgson

Legal news update – January 2020

Introduction of televised sentencing

This week it has been announced that judges sentencing in high-profile cases, such as murders and rapes, will now be televised in the hopes of developing a greater public understanding. However, the Bar Council has announced it’s criticisms of the plan by stating that showing only part of a trial could instigate unjustified criticism of judges and turn the sentencing procedure into a “spectator sport”.

You will be able to watch the sentencing procedure online from the 16th of January however there will be a 10 second delay on the broadcast to eliminate any disturbances etc. However, there will be restrictions on what can be filmed these include the court staff, jurors, witnesses and victims.

Reynhard Sinaga life sentence information

Reynhard Sinaga, a 36 year old student from Indonesia, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 30 years for 136 counts of rape at Manchester crown court on the 6th January. This means that Mr Sinaga is going to have to serve a minimum of 30 years before he is considered for parole.

Geoffrey Cox QC has referred Reynhard Sinaga’s sentence to the court of appeal under the unduly lenient sentence (ULS) scheme as he thinks a “whole-life order” should be considered.

Cox also said: “After carefully considering the details of this case, I have decided to refer the sentence to the court of appeal”.

Cox also stated that, “Sinaga carried out an egregious number of attacks, over a prolonged period of time causing substantial pain and psychological suffering to his victims. It is now for the court to decide whether to increase the sentence.”

The sentencing judge Suzanne Goddard QC stated that she believed that Mr Sinaga was a “highly dangerous”, “cunning” and “deceitful individual “and that he would never be safe to release, she also questioned whether she had the authority to ensure he was never released.

Dan Vernon