Open Day

Open justice was on display for all to see as the State’s highest court opened its doors during Heritage Perth Weekend on Sunday, April 18.

Members of the public were treated to a rare look inside the heritage listed building with the opportunity to speak to judges and registrars.

There were long queues throughout the day. Some visitors waited close to an hour to begin their tour as the line stretched through Stirling Gardens to St George's Terrace.

Some visitors waited almost one hour to start their tour.

While visitors waited, they could speak to volunteers from Law Access WA at a photo booth and learn about how the organisation assists vulnerable West Australians to obtain access to justice.

Equal Justice: Law Access WA's photo booth.

Open Day 2021 featured two new displays. For the first time, a restricted access display allowed visitors to listen to historic audio recordings from the 1963 murder trial of serial killer Eric Edgar Cooke. Photographs from the investigation were also on display.

In Court 1, an exhibit tendered during the 1987 appeal of the Mickelberg brothers over the so-called Perth Mint Swindle was a popular children's activity.

The Penry Photofit Facility exhibit was used by police investigators as a facial identification technique.

Children making their own facial composite picture.

Mock jury selections also featured for the first time this Open Day. Members of the public, including children, had the chance to be part of a jury pool.

They learnt how a jury is chosen and the important role jurors have in the justice system. Courtroom 3 was full of visitors who thoroughly enjoyed the jury selection process conducted by Justices Corboy and Smith.

Justice Corboy explains jury duty.
An associate prepares the jury numbers for selection.
Selected jurors wait to be sworn in as members of the public watch.
Justice Smith watches on as a child asks to be excused from jury duty.
Interested onlookers fill Courtroom 3 for the mock jury empanelment.

Once the formalities were over, some visitors took the opportunity to try on robes and see the view from the judge's chair.

Would you like to be a judge?
An associate with a member of the public.
Justice Jennifer Smith meets children.

The behind-the-scenes tour included judges' chambers and the beautiful stained glass window depiction of ‘Lady Justice'.

Visitors admire the "Lady Justice" stained glass window.

Visitors also saw how an old document seal, that makes an imprint on paper, is still used to confirm that documents have been validly filed with the Court.

Other activities included a children's quiz with participants awarded an honorary Supreme Court Admission Certificate at the end of the tour.

An associate demonstrates an old document seal machine.
Children completing the Supreme Court quiz.

Chief Justice Peter Quinlan was among the eight judges and four registrars who met visitors and answered questions about the justice system.

He said he was impressed by the turnout of the public and the interest visitors had shown.

“The courtrooms have a grand feeling here at the Supreme Court that I think resonates with a lot of visitors,” the Chief Justice said.

Chief Justice Peter Quinlan explains a feature of his chambers.
Justice Paul Tottle chats to visitors in Court 2.

Registrars were on hand to talk to members of the public about civil proceedings in the Court and how mediation is available to resolve disputes.

Visitors inspected historic court documents and learnt about the administration of deceased estates.

Registrar Davies talks to a visitor.
Visitors inspect historic documents and learn about probate and mediation.

The tour ended with a visit to the cells below Court 2.

Visitors descended the same stairway that has been used for almost 120 years by some of WA's most infamous criminals.

End of the line: down to the cells you go!

Last updated: 23-Apr-2021

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