Bromsgrove youngsters take part in mock trial competition

KEEN legal eagles from 11 schools across Worcestershire and Warwickshire will be getting their day in court very soon as part of the 2014 Schools’ Mock Trial Competition taking place on Saturday, March 8.

Year eight and nine pupils from schools in Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Alcester will be teaming up to take on the prosecution and defence arguments in several carefully crafted mock trials at Worcester Magistrates Court.

Groups of 12-14 year-olds will be taking on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates, court staff and the defendant in the competition organised by the Citizenship Foundation, which is now in its 20th year.

Students from the different schools take on opposing sides in each case, with each school having a go at the prosecution and defence, in a case about a stolen bicycle.

They have the chance to practise beforehand, building up their confidence in public speaking, analysis techniques and working as a team, as well as getting the chance to learn about all aspects of the criminal justice system.

Tracey Kynch, a teacher at North Bromsgrove High School said: “We’ve been involved with the competition now for about five years through the Citizenship Foundation. The pupils get to see the different roles within the justice system and how people are treated as well, and they get to actually see a magistrate’s court.

“It’s good fun, although a lot of work goes into it, we’ve been planning it now since before exams.

“Year eight and nine are involved. We’ve only got year nine at this school so we take part with our feeder middle schools. The pupils get all the insight into it. We also have the assistance of a magistrate and a solicitor and find out more about their jobs and their role. It’s great just seeing how much work goes into it, it’s an enormous amount.”

The students are judged by local magistrates and legal professionals, and awards are presented at the crown court, by His Honour Judge Robert Juckes, liaison judge, to the winning and runner up teams, outstanding pupil, and the best bench of student magistrates. The Press Cup for best court reporter is presented by Peter John, group editor of Midlands Newsquest.

The winning team from the day will then go forward to regional finals in Nottingham in May, with a national final due to take place at Birmingham Magistrate’s Court in June, pitting the winners from across the more than 400 schools involved, against one another.

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