Pupils watch Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, at work

York Press: The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, and the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, the Rev Rachel Benson, chat to some of the students visitng York Crown Court. The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, and the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, the Rev Rachel Benson, chat to some of the students visitng York Crown Court.

STUDENTS from five schools had the chance to learn about court life from York’s top judge.

The High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, the Rev Rachel Benson, invited the pupils and teachers to join her at York Crown Court.

The groups from Manor Academy, All Saints School, Huntington School and Archbishop Holgate’s School, all of York, and Malton School, were briefed on how the courts work by the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst.

They then watched in the public gallery of his court as he dealt with a series of cases, which included a man who had an air pistol during a violent confrontation and the start of a trial.

As resident judge of York Crown Court, he oversees the court’s judicial work and deals with the most complex and most difficult cases sent to it.

Every judge makes his or her own decisions on their cases, which can only be overturned by a higher court.

After the morning session the school party of about 30 had lunch in the High Sheriff’s dining room, the formal room where she entertains judges and other leading members of the community.

In past years several schools have had visits to the court under the crown court’s schools visits programme, but the latest visit is believed to be the first organised by a High Sheriff, who is the Queen’s representative in North Yorkshire’s legal community.

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