A JUDGE is inviting members of the public to step into the dock next weekend to understand how the criminal system works.

An invitation to go behind the scenes at Gloucester Crown Court is being made by Gloucester’s presiding Judge Jamie Tabor on Saturday, May 17.

The aim is to give the public a better insight into how the criminal justice system works and the various organisations that operate within it.

If you ever wondered what happens in a courtroom, how the Crown Prosecution Service decides which cases should be prosecuted, where a prisoner goes after sentencing and how police, probation, victim support and other relevant agencies work together to deliver justice and where the Police and Crime Commissioner now fits into the picture, this is your chance.

You can also experience a mock sentencing and a trip to the cells.

Judge Tabor will also give a question and answer session during the open day.

"There is a remarkable lack of understanding of how the criminal courts work, even amongst well educated members of the public,” he said.

"It never ceases to amaze me when I talk to friends how little they understand about the role of a judge in a crown court.

"My personal aim on the open day is to allow the public to understand more of how the court works because I think there is such a degree of ignorance. It results in people who hear about cases coming to conclusions which are simply not accurate."

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said Britain’s legal system is one of the cornerstones of our society yet not many people really understand it or know how it works.

“Many people will have been fascinated by the trial of Oscar Pistorious but because we don’t allow cameras into our courts, most people’s views will be based on the fictional presentation they see on television or in the cinema,” he said.

“The more we can de-mystify the legal system and make it more transparent the better. The courts are there to uphold the law and protect them. If the public understand that, we will make some progress in respect for the law”.