2018 QAHS Trip to the Brisbane Law Courts

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela

Enjoy reflections from Year 10 students who attended the Brisbane Law Courts on Wednesday 31 October, observed sentencing and trials, and engaged in an audience with The Honourable Justice Peter Davis, Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland.

“With many years of hard work, determination and dedication to their education, members of the law court such as judges, justices, barristers and many more, use their ‘weapon’ to deliver justice. As a student, this type of dedication is valued and inspiring.

QAHS students were given the opportunity to visit the Supreme and District Courts of Queensland, boarding the train from their particular stations, on our way to Roma Street Station. Once we had reached the station, we walked to the Supreme Court of Queensland.

We were then briefed by the Community Education Coordinator; Kirsten Murray. She had taken us to a courtroom and explained the courtroom positions, what each level of the building was designated for, the courtroom etiquette that was appropriate and what our day would entail.

She had introduced us to the Honourable Justice Peter Davis. We were able to ask questions and he answered them in-depth and comprehensively. One of the many interesting questions asked was, “Is it hard to determine if a person should be granted bail?” to which he responded, “As a judge, it is crucial to be objective and to only base your decision on the evidence that has been presented to you.” He then told us an account another judge had experienced. This case had started at approximately 10am and the judge that was appointed to the case had to decide whether or not to grant bail to an accused murderer. Based on the evidence that he had been presented, there was insufficient evidence to refuse him bail and therefore he decided to grant bail to this man. At the time of 12pm, the accused man had murdered his wife.

What Justice Peter Davis said next surprised me. He said that if he was in the same position as the judge in the story, he would have also granted bail. This is because there was insufficient evidence that the accused man should be refused bail. In the court of law, one must not judge a person on their character but the evidence that is presented against them.

After lunch, the group of QAHS students divided themselves into smaller groups to view the cases from the public gallery in each court room. The viewing of the cases was interesting, we were able to observe a real sentencing and how the entirety of a court operates. The barristers always spoke formally and wore wigs as well as the judge before them. The members of the court worked extremely professionally, and it was a remarkable sight.

After the viewing of the sentences, we attended the extensive Supreme Court Law Library filled with books containing reports, precedents and foreign laws. She demonstrated how to find a specific book or where to look specifically.

Overall, it was an amazing opportunity and experience and on behalf of the QAHS students, I would like to thank Ms Rebgetz for making this all happen, Ms Kirsten Murray for her help throughout the day and Justice Peter Davis for the introduction and presentation.”
Annalisa Rashad – Year 10

“We began our day by speaking to The Honourable Justice Davis. He informed us on the daily life of a judge and what to expect if we were considering a career in law. Along with this informative session, his Honour answered all of our questions with enthusiasm, especially those pertaining to Judge Judy and other reality show judges. It was very intriguing to find out what it really is like working in law and the difference between reality and how the media presents it.  

After this, we were asked to form small groups and were invited to visit varying court rooms that were in progress. Our particular group witnessed a man go to jail first hand which we all holistically considered confronting as it is not something that the average person sees every day, although the media is very prevalent in terms of releasing this sort of information, you can feel, however, disjointed from the entire experience from across a TV screen until you witness it first hand; which allowed us to gain a more comprehensive appreciation for life itself. Additionally, we got to watch some witnesses being questioned for a manslaughter case and it was intriguing how precise, detailed and lengthy the actual process was.

One would think that you cannot beat an experience like this, however, our guide Kirsten took us to an actual law library which contained hundreds upon hundreds of books that filled the room and air around us. Having Kirsten give us a tour of all the different sections organised by jurisdiction and learning about the unique organisation system was a fascinating experience. Moreover, she provided us with insightful tips on how we could source and find resources if we ever did go into law in the future such as utilizing journals, references and books. Kirsten also made clear what is meant by primary and secondary law sources, where to find them and how they can help us in the future. It was amazing to hear that we are welcome back to the library any time we wished for any reason, especially those pertaining to a law-based assessment.”
Hunter Alker, Matua Clarke and Tahlia Melrose – Year 10

Mrs Vanessa Rebgetz
Acting Principal