Mock Trial 2017
On the morning of 21st June twenty pupils, along with Mrs Parrott and Mrs Harnett, headed off to the Municipal Offices in Cheltenham to take part in this year’s Cheltenham Primary Schools Mock Trial Competition. They had been rehearsing their roles as defendants, solicitors, witnesses and court officials in the fictional case of two 16 year olds accused of setting fire to a bin! We were greeted by our mentor - a magistrate - and then our Defence team prepared themselves to face St Thomas More’s Prosecution team. With the usher (Martha) and the court artist (Evie) in place, the magistrates and the Bench Chairman (a real magistrate!) took their seats at the bench. Maialen and Hannah were full of authority as they questioned the witnesses and the defendants Anna and Lowri, along with Emma, (supported by Gaby) as Anna’s parent, were assured and very believable as they fielded questions from the Prosecution. The case hung on whether it could be proven that it must have been the two defendants who committed the crime rather than someone else, and Anna’s inspired performance planted enough seeds of doubt to make that impossible; we had won our first case!
Then they faced a Prosecution team from Christchurch School, who looked very professional in their outfits. Our witnesses faced a tough grilling from two very fierce prosecutors and their first witness produced a trump card by identifying the defendants with great certainty, making it very difficult to argue their innocence. The magistrates, including Lani and Sam, deliberated for a long time, but in the end Anna and Lowri were found guilty!
After waiting patiently for their turn, our Prosecution team then stepped up to face a Defence team from Holy Trinity school and Daisy took her place as Court Clerk. Phoebe and Freddie exuded confidence and maturity as they took the floor to question the defendants, and our witnesses (Sofia, Max and Edith) were secure in their stories and held their nerve in the face of some very tough questions. As the magistrates, who this time included Olivia and Jack, filed out of the court room, the verdict was in the balance. However, it turned out that Phoebe’s suggestion that 16 year olds may not always tell their parents the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, had helped to swing it in our favour and the defendants were found guilty – we had won again! Holly and Rose as members of the Youth Offending Team gave their report and the defendants were duly released on bail!
The children performed brilliantly and their maturity and quick thinking was a pleasure to see. They all thoroughly enjoyed their experience (even if it included being arrested!) and are looking forward to competing again next year. Many thanks to those parents who came and supported us and especially to those who helped to transport the children. Please see the website gallery in 'School photos' for some pictures of the day.