Our Year 9 team put on a great performance.
On Saturday, 8 March, a group of our Year 9 students gathered at Reading Crown Court. After weeks of work and preparation, they were taking part in one of the local heats of the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition.
This prestigious competition involves the students studying a specially prepared case, and taking on the parts of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates, ushers and legal advisers to try the case in a real court. The competition is organised by The Citizenship Foundation working with HM Courts & Tribunal Service.
Our team for the defence was up against Windsor Girls Team 2, then our prosecution team was against Herschel Grammar. The girls were excellent. The usher instructed ‘All Rise’ loudly, she swore the witnesses in clearly, and looked impressive in her black gown. The lawyers questions were clear and well thought out, and they thought on their feet.
The witnesses were believable as their characters, mostly remembered their statements, and answered some tricky questions. The defendant even ‘cried’ on the witness stand. The legal adviser gave a clear and concise summary of the case, and the magistrates listened carefully and debated the decision in the retiring room. The court artist and reporter (also reserve) noted everything to report on later.
Ten school teams were taking part in the heat we were in, including Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Maiden Erlegh, Brackenhale, Herschel, Windsor Girls, Theale Green and St Bernards. The winners of the heat were St Bartholomews, Newbury. We are very proud that our team came 2nd, and are also through to the next round.
We are very grateful for the help received from one of the school’s Youth Workers, Tina Heaford, who is also a magistrate. She helped the girls study the case, and arranged for our students to visit the Reading Magistrates’ Court to see them in action working on real trials, which was very interesting and beneficial for the girls. We are very grateful for her time, advice and support.
We wish the team all the best for the Regional heat on 10 May.