Pupils take to the dock as part of mock trial

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SIX teams from Northumberland schools have taken part in a mock trial competition.

Pupils from Cramlington Learning Village, Seaton Sluice Middle School, Morpeth Chantry, Morpeth Newminster, Haydon Bridge High School and Duke’s Middle School in Alnwick, took on the challenge.

All the teams had to argue the case of the Crown versus Morgan Cruickshank, each taking the part of the defence in one round and the prosecution in the other.

Morgan, an ex-soldier, was charged with common assault on December 23.

The Mock Trial Competition is run jointly by the Citizenship Foundation and the Magistrates’ Association and aims to help young people understand the court system and polish up their public speaking, thinking and debating skills.

Competitors take on all of the roles in the court room from magistrate to defendant, lawyers to ushers and witnesses.

JP Lesley Dickinson said: “Once again this was a keenly fought competition and everyone got well into character.

“This year’s winner was Morpeth Chantry School who will go on to the regional finals in May.

“The event would not have been the success it was without the help and support of the High Sheriff Mrs Benson, Coun Mark Heaton, Coun Sam Walker, Coun Paul Hedley, Alnwick and Blyth councils, the Rotary clubs of Alnwick, Bedlington, Morpeth and Cramlington, Greggs, and to all of the staff and magistrates of Bedlington court who organised the event.”

In addition to the trials, the youngsters were able to visit the empty cells and see inside a prison transport van, and try on full riot gear.