On Saturday 18th March 2017, 12 perceptive pupils from Whitley Academy participated against six other schools in the Coventry Magistrates' Court 'Mock Trial 2017'.
This was a competition where pupils from different schools took up the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and magistrates, and then prosecuted or defended in a domestic criminal case.
I hoped this experience would teach me a lot of things about crime and how sentences are given, in a more interesting and fun way.
Outside, the weather wasn’t the best. Although it was warm, it was cloudy and drizzling. The warm air rushed around us when the cold water sprayed against our faces. It wasn’t ideal for taking photos outside. We felt very warm inside as the adrenaline started kicking in. We were so ready for the competition.
At around 9:00am, we familiarised ourselves with the court and practiced our roles. We checked the display boards for our court numbers - if your school name is at the top, you are prosecuting, and if your school name is at the bottom, you are defending.
Whitley Academy would be against Caroline Chisholm School in Northampton.
As soon as the session started, I was the first person to talk (as the prosecution lawyer). The nerves kicked in. Consequently I spoke a bit too fast. But after some time, I got back on track and continued to present to the court the credible evidence I had researched so far.
I had to make sure the evidence was precise, even if it might suggest that the defendant is not guilty. Together with my prosecution team, we got to make sure the court reached the right verdict, not just a guilty verdict.
Everyone in my Whitley Academy team performed their best and tried as much as they could. It was definitely not an easy job to talk confidently in front of so many people and the real-life magistrates.
After the round was over, the magistrate specially praised the Whitley Academy prosecution witness (Joe of Year 9) as he managed himself really well and responded smoothly to the defence lawyers with their very tricky questions.
It was time for some quick group photos.
Then Mrs Nguyen helped me to secure some minutes to talk to the Magistrate. He praised me for delivering such a difficult role impressively. He also advised me to control my nerves better for future public speaking opportunities. I agreed with him wholeheartedly. I felt the massive privilege to spend some precious minutes listening to such useful and effective feedback from him. It really made me feel ecstatic as no one else got any personal feedback from the Magistrate.
Then it was time for home.
We left the Magistrate Court feeling overjoyed with the experience we had for the day. Although we did not win the competition, we won by participating in it. For me participation is more important than winning.
We all enjoyed the whole event and learned a great deal from it. We were so ready for next year’s opportunity.
Goodbye for now!