Perse students make their case in mock trial competition

Perse students had their day in court when they took part in the Independent Schools Mock Trial Competition.

They were among groups from nine schools who descended on Inner London Crown Court for the event, part of Young Citizens’ SmartLaw programme aimed at helping young people understand how the legal justice system works.

Each school team included a court clerk, a court reporter, an usher, six jurors and four barristers as they took part in mock trials based on cases surrounding intent to supply drugs and ABH (actual bodily harm).

Despite not making it to the final, the Perse students were able to convince two of the three juries who heard their cases to agree with their arguments.

Harry Knight (Upper Sixth) fulfilled the role of barrister in the mock drugs trial, giving him a great insight into what he hopes will become his future career.

He said: “Barristers are the lawyers who are routinely advocating on behalf of their client in court and I’m interested in how those advocacy skills can be practised and developed.

“Our case involved a lot of trying to evaluate, bolster or undermine the credibility of certain witnesses and I’d say I found it fascinating, challenging and rewarding.

“It was a wonderful opportunity – standing before the bench of the court, rising when the judges came in and hearing ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’, as well as the element of winning a trial.”

Wincy Jeyaraj (Lower Sixth) also took part in the mock drugs case, assuming the mantle of one of the witnesses.

As a keen actor, she enjoyed taking on the role, but admitted finding it a tough challenge.

She said: “You have to learn the witness statement, but you’re facing both the prosecution and the defence and at times it got confusing!

“I like drama and it felt like learning a character, but with the mock trial you couldn’t divert from what was in the statement or you would lose points.

“If there was anything that came up in the cross-examination that wasn’t in the statement, you just had to say you didn’t know rather than make something up, but the whole day was just a really good experience.”


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