See what it's like to be in the dock at Sunderland Magistrates' Court

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In an exclusive look behind the scenes at Sunderland Magistrates' Court, the Echo takes a look at the courtroom from the dock.

If you were to find yourself on the wrong side of the law, this will be where you'd stand before magistrates.

What it looks like from inside the dock at Sunderland Magistrates' Court

What it looks like from inside the dock at Sunderland Magistrates' Court

Contained in the centre of the courtroom, defendants are surrounded by magistrates, barristers, solicitors, members of the public and press.

Tribunals and county court have been integrated into building and a 12-week refurbishment has been carried out to upgrade the site.
The Echo has been given special access in areas that are usually no-go zones.

Johh Scott, bench chair, said: "In the 1990s we had a series of very bad murders in Sunderland, there was a young girl murdered in the east end - we dealt with that.

"I've had the IRA in here, because they were supergrassers who had been given new identities.

"So it's the only time I've ever actually had armed police in the court to protect them, rather than me."

Magistrates sit at the front of the court on a platform looking over the entire courtroom.

Video link equipment now means defendants can appear before magistrates from any prison in the country.

Mr Scott added: "Despite this being an Edwardian court room, we have modern technology here.

"We've set up video links so we can video link for trials so for domestic violence and cases like that - we can have witnesses in a remote room.

"We can also link into every prison in the country so rather than having people brought all the way up here we can actually deal with them via video link."