Taking part in the 2016 Citizenship Foundation Mock Bar Trials as a court reporter was great experience and insight into the role of court journalism. On the day of the competition in Belfast Royal Courts of Justice, as court reporter I observed the St. Dominic’s team trials for Case one and two, writing notes on definitive moments of each trial and afterward a full newspaper-style article. The competition was a brilliant opportunity for me to get involved in both law and journalism.
Bad hearing, blood and battery!
A young builder from Everytown has been convicted of assault at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast, following a row with a neighbour on Washington Road.
The assault took place on 1st June 2016 after Toni Williams confronted her neighbour, Alex Edwards, about the volume of music being played, resulting in Edwards allegedly becoming violent.
Edwards claims that on the night of 1st June, she and friend Robin Goodly were listening to music and drinking some beers. Edwards alleges that due to hearing difficulties resulting from her job as a builder the volume of music “could be perceived as high”.
Witness to the crime, 65 year old neighbour Ronny Childs, stated that Edwards always struck him as “a bit rough looking”, and Williams as “very nice and respectable”.
At around 10pm, Williams stepped out to confront Edwards about the volume of the music, as Edwards was leaving her home to purchase more beers for her and Goodly, who Edwards described as “a bit drunk”.
Childs described Edwards as the aggressor of the situation, and that he heard Edward’s voice shouting aggressively before he saw Edwards punch Williams in the face.
Police Constable Stamp, who responded to a 999 call made by Goodly, reported that William’s face was “bruised and covered in blood which seemed to be coming from her nose”.
Edwards claimed that the assault was an act of self-defence, a reflex action as Williams was advancing toward her, allegedly screaming threateningly before spitting at her. Goodly, who witnessed the event, said that Edwards was “just acting instinctively”.
During the closing speech, Prosecution barrister Muireann Kearney urged both the judges and jury to see past Goodly’s “boozy smokescreen”. After a short deliberation the jury announced that they found the defendant Alex Edwards guilty of assault causing actual bodily harm.