Criminal barrister warns pupils about terrible impact of knife crime - on perpetrators as well as victims
The current spate of knife crime in London is horrifying, and we read much of the trauma experienced by the victims and their families. Less talked about is the impact that it has on the perpetrators of the crime, often very young people who have no idea what they are letting themselves in for.
Today our pupils heard a fascinating and insightful talk about the criminal justice system from the perspective of the defendant, and the terrible ramifications of commiting knife crime.
Stephen Akinsanya is a Criminal Defence Barrister with 25 years experience at the bar in England and Wales, and is a member of Great James Street Chambers in London. He often defends young people – largely aged between 12 – 21, charged with murder and manslaughter, and as a father of two young sons is acutely aware of the terrible impact such an experience can have on young person.
He points out that the high drama and intensity of the court room is intimidating enough for seasoned advocates, let alone bewildered and terrified young people often barely in their teens, and he is determined to help as many young people as possible avoid that fate.
Criminal barrister Stephen Akinsanya talking to Bolingbroke's students about the devastating impact knife crime can have on both the victim - and the perpetrator
“I like to educate people about what happens in the court room,” he said. “A moment of madness literally changing the course of not just that person’s life but all those connected to the tragic event,” he said. “Unfulfilled potential in a graveyard or behind prison bars for many years are the realities of the choice to carry a knife. Unforeseen lives ruined through the decision. It’s not too late to be the person you might have been!”
Stephen is a passionate advocate for young people and has been working with youths for almost 15 years since he took on the role of a Sunday school teacher at Croydon Community Church.
His belief in the principle that, ‘Every young person has a gift waiting to be unearthed’, was the driving force for his passion to mentor and inspire all those years ago and he remains as passionate today.