CPS Thames Valley helps Little Heath School students prepare for mock Court trial

26/11/2009

CPS Thames Valley lawyers have been advising and coaching budding lawyers and students from Little Heath School in Reading as they prepared for a national mock trial competition.

On Saturday 21st November, a team of 12 students went to Oxford Crown Court to compete against other Thames Valley schools.  They were able to experience all the roles in court, apart from being the judge.  It was an eye-opening and hair crushing experience as the would-be advocates wore barristers wigs and gowns.

The advocates did all they would in a full Crown Court trial: making speeches to the jury, questioning and cross-examining witnesses.  To help them in the weeks leading up to the competition, CPS Thames Valley Crown Advocates Simon Heptonstall, Anthony Smith and Salma Yousef went to Little Heath to advise the students on the trial process and the art of advocacy.  Simon Heptonstall joined them on Saturday to give further support on the day.

Senior Crown Advocate, Simon Heptonstall said, "The enthusiasm and effort of the students was really impressive.  All had clearly prepared very well for their roles as advocates, witnesses, clerk and usher.  For those who sat on the jury there was an interesting insight into what is persuasive in a trial environment."

All the students' hard work paid off as they were only just pipped to the top of their league by the eventual regional finalists.  In their first round, Little Heath had to prosecute a drug dealing case against an experienced barrister in front of Oxfords resident Judge, Julian Hall.  Justice was done as the panel of 12 jurors from other schools quickly returned a guilty verdict and a victory for Little Heath.