Plymouth High School for Girls pupils crowned Bar Mock Trial champions

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Devon sixth formers emerge victorious in final presided over by Sir Brian Leveson

Plymouth High School for Girls

The accolade of national Bar Mock Trial Competition winner 2017 has gone to Plymouth High School for Girls.

Backed by charitable organisation the Citizenship Foundation, the annual advocacy competition saw the Devon-based sixth formers beat Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School into second place. The hotly-anticipated final was presided over by Sir Brian Leveson, Mrs Justice McGowan and The Honourable Lady Rae.

With regional heats kicking off back in November 2016, the competition — in which 230 UK state schools took part — was eventually whittled down to just 24 teams. These lucky finalists convened in the Royal Courts of Justice, London, over the weekend.

A student from Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School meets Sir Brian Leveson

The grand final saw Plymouth High School for Girls and Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School do battle over R v Emerson. In this fictitious case, Charlie Emerson was arrested after police officers received a 999 call claiming two gangs were causing trouble in a local park. Having discovered an eight-inch knife in his gym bag, Emerson was charged with possession of a bladed weapon in a public place.

Commenting on this year’s competition, which relies heavily on the support of almost 400 barristers and judges, chairman of the bar Andrew Langdon QC said:

Young people, particularly those from less advantaged backgrounds, should be inspired to aim high. This competition gives state school students the unique opportunity to have advocacy training from practising barristers and their performance evaluated by real judges. For students thinking about a career in the law, the Bar Mock Trials competition is a hugely valuable experience.

As in previous years, 2 Hare Court barrister Robert Rinder — more popularly referred to as Judge Rinder — was on hand to dish out the awards and take selfies.

Commenting on the vital role the competition plays, Rinder said:

The crown court system can often seem like an old fashioned institution, a place of both rigid protocol and antiquated pageantry. It is, however, essential that young citizens understand and appreciate the vital role lawyers and judges of the crown court play in the UK’s justice system.

A further prize was handed out in the annual Court Reporter Competition, which went to Roise McCann from St Dominic’s Grammar School for Girls, while Inthira Ying Wanwangsa of Bolton Sixth Form College came out on top in the Court Artist Competition. Legal Cheek features editor Katie King and court artist Priscilla Coleman judged these categories respectively.

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