Courting success in mock trial competition

Courting success in mock trial competition

A QE team fought off a challenge from three other schools to win a legal competition, attracting praise for their performances both as defence and as prosecution.

The 14-strong Year 9 team took part in two mock trials in the local heat of the Young Citizens Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition.

They won the heat, even though the verdict for the trial in which they were the defence was ‘guilty’.

Congratulating them, Enrichment tutor Kanak Shah said: “The boys’ preparation in the run-up to the heat and their performance on the day were both important factors in their success.”

Ms Shah accompanied the boys to the competition heat, along with fellow Enrichment tutor Eleanor Pickering.

The mock trials were of a defendant charged with possession of an offensive weapon – a lump hammer – in a public place. The case turned on whether the hammer was used offensively.

The boys auditioned to be part of the team some months ago. The successful candidates then prepared their case over the ensuing period, guided by Ms Shah. The team comprised not only prosecution and defence lawyers but also magistrates, witnesses, legal advisors and an usher.

The competition judges were, in fact, real-life magistrates. “We had even had a visit from Magistrate Catherina Daly previously to help us prepare our case,” said Ms Shah. And, adding further to the competition’s verisimilitude, the heat was held at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

In the first trial, the lawyers for the defence were QE’s Keshav Aggarwal and Soham Sapra. The ‘guilty’ verdict here had had no bearing on the judges’ scores. QE won the round, with the judges highlighting their “strong team performance”.

Roles were reversed in round 2, where the QE pairing of Aahan Shah and Shashank Devaguptapu spoke as prosecutors. The verdict was again ‘guilty’, and QE once more won the round. In their notes, the judges stated: “It was a strong performance and showed good preparation, knowing facts. Confident in delivery.”

The rest of the QE team were:

  • Magistrates – Hardik Ingale, Ishan Nakadi & Avan Khan
  • Witnesses – Shubhay Chawla, Nimesh Nirojan, Jitin Sanapala & Eesa Bhaijee
  • Legal advisors – Daniel Kollo & Orko Ghosh
  • Usher – Nafis Meah.

The Young Citizens Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial competition is for 12–14 year-olds from state schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.