Bar Mock Trial Competition 2016
On Saturday 12th of November 2016, for the first time in the school’s history, Trinity School took to the Reading Crown Court to compete in the 25th year of the Bar Mock Trial competition. The competition involves students between years 10 to 13 taking on the roles of barristers, witnesses, jury members, clerks and ushers, presenting cases against rival schools, and then battling them out in real court rooms in front of real judges.
The team consisted of a mixture of both year 12 and year 13 students, Trinity defended their first case – of witness intimidation - with barristers Justine Barker and Caitlin Hooper, defending Louise Pope and her witness, Ella Gromowksi-Cook. Here solid characterisation, a round of laughter and heated cross examinations led Trinity’s to victory for their first round, setting them off to a strong and confident start.
Round two was against St Birinus School from Didcot. Here Trinity prosecuted an assault case with barristers Andrew McNey and Pierce Jones, and witnesses Thomas Ryan and Stephen Caldaralo. Once again Trinity took no excuses from the opposition, with fierce questions from barrister Pierce Jones, quoting the Oxford English Dictionary for St Birinus’ witness’s clarity. However, in this round the jury decided in favour of the defendant.
The final planned round of the day was against Upton Court Grammar School, this time prosecuting the witness intimidation case. The judge here took a great liking towards the students of Trinity and was impressed with their coolness under pressure, resulting in high praise once the round was over. This was reflected in a Trinity first – a successfully fought guilty verdict.
Once all the rounds were competed, Trinity amongst all of the other schools were left to hear the verdict of the competition in the court’s lobby. The top two teams of the ten would compete in a playoff for the national finals. Scores were added up – we were through!
With the court room empty apart from us and Reading School, the lights down low, the scene was set. Here we again saw the assault case, with Trinity putting their defence lawyers and witnesses to the test. The atmosphere was tense as our witnesses were grilled, and barristers on both sides traded points of law in front of a rapt jury. Speeches were delivered, cases made.
Fierce debate broke out in the jury retiring room. After a not so unanimous vote as a result of rock paper scissors in the jury retiring room from students Jazmine Derwin, Aaliyah Ramnarine, Grace Nash-Williams, Callum Pomfret and Koshesai Fundira and other members of Reading College, the Trinity’s defendant was found guilty!
All that was left was for the judges to add the scores and deliver their summing up. After a brief summary of the law, and a warning that in real life Louise would have been facing a seven year jail sentence, to our relief and delight we were announced the winners! The team were left to walk freely knowing they’d be attending the national finals in the Royal Courts of Justice in March 2017, having claimed court victory over Reading College.
Special mention to two of the most crucial roles, our Clerk, Aran Curcher, and our stand-in Usher, Georgia Bentley York, but also to the members of staff who have helped and supported us since day one, Mr Trent and Miss Findlay.
National Finals here we come!