Royal Hospital win inaugural National Independent Schools' Mock Bar Trial
Royal Hospital School has won the Citizenship Foundation's inaugural National Independent Schools' Mock Bar Trial Competition. The competition was held at the Inner London Crown Court and each case ruled over by a judge. The barristers for each team were dressed in the appropriate clothing with gowns and wigs.
With only a few weeks training, the team of 15 pupils from Years 11-13 had to learn about their roles what their legal case was to be. Three parents who are involved in law, kindly volunteered to help; Mr Simon Gladwell and Mrs Sue Dixon both of whom are barristers in criminal law and Her Honour Judge Emma Peters, County Court Judge. With assistance from their mentors pupils dedicated their Monday evenings to meet and learn the correct legal jargon and procedures.
They were privileged to be able to practice their cases at Ipswich Crown Court, thanks to Judge Peters, and get some last minute notes on their performances from their legal experts.
The team was split into three sub-teams, Team 1 and Team 2 had to prepare the prosecution and defence of Case 1 (a case based on whether a person was in possession of a dangerous weapon), and Team 3 had to prepare the prosecution of Case 2 (a case of assault or self-defence). Each sub-team had two barristers, two witnesses and either an usher or clerk. Each of these roles was vital as the judge of the case assessed each person on how correctly and successfully they performed their part.
Team 1 (Jordan Macmahon, Adam Warren, Joe Carless, Esme Peters and Dom Curtis) did extremely well in their opening round giving RHS a strong start with a victory over Beech Grove Academy. Despite strong performances from Team 3 (Nick Paddon, Will Christmas, Imani Palmer, Izzy Durrant and Polina Belkina) a very tough King's College School fought back well and scored the victory. Team 2 (Pietro Vendittelli, Molly Williamson, Max Wou-Smith, Alex Jackson and Amelia Potter) undeterred by the reputation of Stowe School presented a solid case and argued extremely eloquently which was enough to secure a win and put RHS in reach of the finals.
Drawing Westminster School in the final Team 3 had to regroup quickly and prepare to counter-argue the case they had presented previously with just ten minutes preparation. Showing great resilience after the disappointing loss against KCS, the team performed remarkably better finding their stride with comments and arguments becoming more natural and spontaneous. Izzy Durrant proved to be an outstanding witness, refusing to give any ground in a gruelling cross-examination. Nick Paddon concluded for the defence wrapping up the arguments in an impressive final speech that many felt sealed the competition victory.
The RHS win was in no doubt down to the combined effort of every single member of the team who played their part to the best of their ability. The participants should be proud of their achievement against some very established and strong schools. Thanks go to our three volunteer parent legal experts for their invaluable assistance and to Mr Dixon and Mr Christmas for facilitating the event and allowing the pupils to gain the unique experience of what it is like to be a criminal advocate in court.