A visit to the Old Bailey

I popped in to the Old Bailey today to watch the “hacking trial”.  Here are some quick impressions.


The venue – Court 12 – is big for a court room (about the size of a large Starbucks).  It was crammed with about one hundred people, including fourteen barristers in wigs and gowns.  


There were boxes and files on every surface, shoved hard against monitors and keyboards.  It was almost as if proceedings were suddenly taking place in the midst of an office move.  Criminal courts are not like this on the telly.


The pace of the hearing was slow.  The QC asking the questions was under-stated, as he peered over a pile of lever-arch folders in the direction of the witness box.  He could have been asking about the details of some plumbing problem.  There was no hint of drama; it was mundane and plodding.


But the most marked thing was the lack of air conditioning. One hundred people in a room, and it was genuinely hard to breathe in there.   I lasted about twenty minutes before going for fresh air.


One can only have immense respect for everyone having to concentrate all day for months on the evidence – judge, jurors, defendants, lawyers, and reporters.  It cannot be a wonderful experience whatever your reason to be in that court.




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