Pupils in mock competition in courtroom

SEVEN teams from Northumberland schools took part in a mock trial competition.

Pupils from Bede Academy, Bothal Middle School, Chantry Middle School, Cramlington Learning Village, Duchess’s Community High School, Duke’s Middle School and Newminster Middle School took on the challenge.

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

‘George’ was alleged to have dishonestly received stolen goods, namely two bottles of vodka to the value of £33.98, knowing or believing them to be stolen, contrary to Section 22 of the Theft Act 1968.

A total of 105 pupils took part and were supported by parents and teachers.

And although pupils had practised their roles, witnesses had to be well prepared to be able to think on their feet when answering questions from the young prosecuting and defence lawyers.

The ‘lawyers’ also needed to listen keenly to be able to put questions to the witnesses while the magistrates had to be able to come to a fair conclusion.

Standards were high and judges, who are practising magistrates, were impressed by the presentation in all cases and with the deliberations of the ‘magistrates’ when they had to consider the evidence they had heard in the courtroom before deciding whether George was guilty or not guilty.

In a closely fought competition, Alnwick’s Duke’s Middle School came out with the honours and will represent Northumberland in the next round.

The prizes of a trophy and £250 were presented by the High Sheriff of Northumberland, Rev Fiona Sample.

Thanks went to competition supporters who helped either with donations or their time including Alnwick Rotary Club, represented by Elaine Smith and Terry Long, West Bedlington Town Council, represented by Mary Allen, Morpeth Town Council, Cramlington Rotary Club, Blyth Rotary Club, Greggs and the staff and magistrates at South East Northumberland Law Courts in Bedlington, who organised the event led by Steve John, JP.