I've appeared in courts of law four times in my life...so far. Each time I was in a different role, and at a different stage of my life. Only my most recent experience was without considerable anxiety. Many people I know have never been to court and in the normal course of events, most are unlikely to. It is not an experience to which anyone of sound mind aspires, nor is it normally considered positive.
In 1983 I was fifteen years old when I found myself in the Sutherland magistrates court charged with several offences relating to the theft of a motor vehicle. The vehicle in question was the same one in which the police found us pretending to sleep one night. I pleaded guilty to the charges, knowing I was guilty of numerous others for which I had not been called to account. Most seriously, I was guilty of breaking the trust of my parents. Having been sentenced to a two year good behaviour bond and fined, I accepted my punishment and determined to end my criminal endeavours.
In all of these cases, I have no problem with the decision of the courts. There was justice for all, and there were also lessons to be learned. This is not always the case. For me, I am thankful that my appearances in court have helped shape me for the better, and in the most recent case, helped a friend avoid the more serious and permanent consequences of injustice.