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All Rise

Yesterday, I went to Leeds Crown Court to study language use in the courtroom. Exciting!

I got up bright and early, headed down to the court for about quarter to 10, met up with a few other people doing the same thing. We wandered in, queued up to go through security (basically exactly the same as airport security, including repeated pocket-emptying until the bloody detector thing stopped beeping at you), then were told to sit in a waiting area. It was explained to us that there were 17 separate courtrooms. All were scheduled to be in use for the morning session, but only a few were actual trials, and only a couple of those were new trials. The rest had already been in progress for several days, and while we were allowed to go into those, as any other, we might be a bit confused. So we should really opt for one of the new trials. We should watch the screens dotted around the waiting room to see when things were scheduled to start. None of them would start before 10:30. There’d be a final call via the tannoy system for each one, but after the sessions started, we wouldn’t be allowed in or out.

So we waited for one of the new trials.

Cases were called. Cases were dismissed. People in silly wigs arrived and left. By half past 11, we were starting to get a little antsy. When were they going to start? We asked an official. Both trials were scheduled to start this morning, they said, but they couldn’t give us an exact time. We sat back down. By 12, we noticed a couple of police officers also waiting to go in. We asked if they knew what the deal was. They said they had no idea. They said they were just told to turn up for 10AM as well. They said that, in the past, there had been occasions where they’d sat in that waiting room all day, waiting to be called, only to eventually be told to come back tomorrow.

We waited until just before 1PM, then all the sessions broke for lunch, and there would definitely be nothing starting until 2:30. We went home.

What a collossal waste of time.

Now, obviously, of course the Crown Court isn’t there to cater to some poor fools wanting to listen in. But still. Man. If my cold (see below) is better by Thursday, I might go back then, see if I have more luck. But yeah. Really miffed, even today. Oh well.


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