Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Old Bailey

A few months back, Shelley and I visited the Old Bailey to view the proceedings of a murder trial. As cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom, I've had to make do with some pastel sketches. And talk about make do!

(Me at the Old Bailey.)

We felt a little awkward getting into the courts, as we were flying completely blind; there were no posters around town telling us what was showing, so we had to go in with some trepidation. When I stepped through the first security checkpoint, the guard greeted me and asked with piercing eyes, "Which proceeding are you viewing today?" I felt reluctant to say, Just whatever is good thanks, but what I ended up saying must have sounded a lot like that. He was definitely trying to psych me out - almost all attempts to psych me out work quite well.

(Piercing eyes.)

Inside the courtroom, things didn't exactly move at the speed of light. The jury came in looking bored, sat down, and started chewing gum (I guess to stay awake). At the back of the room the co-accused sat behind a wall of glass. The five of them were minded by two guards, Monsieur Fatty and Monsieur Skinny. Monsieur Fatty, who had no gum, fell asleep shortly after the court went into session.

The part of the case we viewed involved a barrister and a detective reading out a transcript of a police interview with one of the accused. It was very gripping, especially coming late into the trial, trying to work out what had gone on. Annoyingly, there was no catch-up session, but we still managed to piece it together, and by the time we had to go we'd all but solved the mystery.

I was checking out the website for the Old Bailey the other day, and look at this! They make available online all the court transcipts between 1674 and 1913. Some of it makes for really interesting reading, although a lot of people seemed to stand trial for stealing handkerchiefs.


Helen | Pepperina Press said...

Security guards don't have to *try* to psych you out, as I recall. At least you didn't say "Am I – Am I right?"


bitingmidge said...

Stealing handkerchiefs is one thing, but stealing other people's art... Jules I'm ashamed of you! ;-) Keep up that behaviour and you'll find yourself in Australia!

Or do they actually have a US flag draped behind the judge at the Old Bailey?


julesandshell said...

That second picture could hardly be described as art! It's one of the worst sketches I've seen.

It's like the artist said, Oh stuff it, this is so terrible I'm not even going to finish the hair.

(That said, I am very glad for his work.)

Anonymous said...

The 3rd drawing of the piercing eyes guy is really good but a little scary. Whatever that guy was at the Old Bailey for he did it! Do you think the black around his head represents bad karma or a very bad mood?