23 May 2016
Rotorua college students learned about careers in the justice sector and what the court process can look like, through a voluntary programme with a mock trial process and visit to court cells at the Rotorua Courthouse recently.
Called “Beyond the bars”, the initiative saw 15 Year 12-13 students tour the facilities and act out a mock criminal trial, with different students acting as the judge, witnesses, prosecution, defence lawyer and jury members.
“The kids said it felt realistic and that they had a better insight into the justice process,” says Amarnda Nicholson, Criminal Court Services Manager, Rotorua High Court and District Court, who championed the initiative, which was held on Friday May 13.
“We want youth who visit as part of the programme to have fun. Our aim is that they talk about the justice system in a really positive light – because they have the opportunity to experience court for the right reasons, not because they’ve committed an offence.”
“Some of the kids have said they are going to look at becoming a lawyer, or Police, or working for the court. And some kids said they definitely didn’t want to get in trouble – they didn’t want to go through the court process.”
Local Police, court staff and lawyers are volunteering their time for the after school session, so the students can experience the justice process in action. The visit is organised in conjunction with local Police and judiciary.
Rotorua District Court originally developed the programme for a local youth group, and has expanded it to make it available to school students following a very positive response from the local community.
For more information, contact Antony Paltridge, 04 9188980 or 027 6890667.
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