Magistrates Mock Trial
In March, a team of fifteen year 8 and Year 9 pupils took part in the regional heat of the Magistrate Mock Trial competition at Derby Magistrates’ Court. The competition aims to replicate a courtroom experience, with pupils taking the part of lawyers, witnesses, usher, legal adviser, magistrates and courtroom artists.
Our team was split into prosecution and defence teams and were given the details of a case to prepare: Sam Fenton, played by Harriet in Year 8, was accused of carrying a knife in a public area without due reason. Our prosecution lawyers, Louis and Laura set out to prove the case, using the statements of their prosecution witnesses Alex and Maisie who convincingly testified that Harriet’s character was definitely carrying a knife and was a huge danger to society. Defending Harriet, Isabelle and Eden set out a staunch defence using the witness statements for the characters played by Harriet and Katie.
On the day, our teams were pitched against opposing teams from other schools and they presented the cases in front of magistrates who were also judging their performance. Alice, as the Usher, ensured that the courtroom ran smoothly and according to protocol and Imogen, our Legal Advisor, expertly guided the magistrates on matters of law. Our magistrates – Charlotte, Katie and Hannah – sat with a real magistrate and at the conclusion of the case, debated the outcome, eventually delivering a verdict based on the evidence they had heard.
On the day, our team were narrowly beaten into second place, but they should all feel really proud of themselves for the immense hard work that went in to preparing for the day and for their poise, confidence and coolness under fire in an adversarial courtroom setting. They really were a credit to themselves and to JTHS. The judges commented on how well they had practised and on the professionalism of their performance. Next year, we will be returning to win!
In the meantime, Charlotte and Emily have been entered into a national competition for their artistic impressions of the courtroom, and we eagerly await the results, which should be announced in May.
We would also like to thank Mrs Richardson, JTHS governor and local magistrate, who arranged a trip for the team to the court prior to the event and very generously gave her time to watch the team practise and to share her expertise with the team.
Ms J Budge