School pupils across Herts invited to crown court date to mark Magna Carta heritage

The Magna Carta placed at St Albans Abbey

The Magna Carta placed at St Albans Abbey - Credit: Archant

St Albans Crown Court is opening its doors to the public on Saturday to mark the city’s historic association with the Magna Carta.

To celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter the court is staging mock trials and sentencing hearings, police dog demonstrations, a tour of the cells and the chance to sit in a police and prison van.

It was in St Albans in 1213 that Stephen Langton, the Archbishop of Canterbury, other churchmen and barons first met to discuss their grievances against King John.

That led to the articles that became Magna Carta, sealed at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. For the first time it was acknowledged that everyone is subject to the law and that every man had the right to a fair trial.

Judge Andrew Bright QC has written to school students from across the county inviting them to attend. He said: “Among the many events we have planned is a series of mock trials at which you can volunteer to sit on the jury which decides the case.

“There will be mock sentencing hearings involving a wide range of offences and one court room will be given over to the work of Magistrates dealing with cases ranging from motoring offences to burglary.

“There will be a demonstration of the work of police dogs and an opportunity to have a tour of the cells beneath the court and to sit in a police and prison van.

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“You will also be able to have your fingerprints taken and to see a display comparing the uniforms and equipment of policemen in days gone by with that of the modern-day police officer.

“The purpose of the Open Day is to allow you to see at first-hand how our courts operate and to invite you to take part in the day’s events. Not only will it give you a much clearer insight in to our system of justice, but I can guarantee that you will also have a very enjoyable day out.”

The open day runs from 10am to 3pm.

Click here to find out more about how to get to the crown court