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All rise! Gullands supports Maidstone mock trial competition

Gullands was on the bench for a local heat of the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on 10 March.

Mock trials introduce the legal system to young people in an innovative and engaging way, giving them the opportunity to gain hands on experience.

The trials involve year 8 and 9 students acting out the parts of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff in the courtroom.  Before that they prepare the prosecution and defence of specially written criminal cases.

“Along with other legal professionals and magistrates it was my role to help judge how the students got on,” said Head of the Criminal Litigation Department John Roberts.  “This was the second year that I have volunteered my services to the competition and once again it was a really enjoyable and thought provoking event.”

Entrants from St Augustins (Maidstone), Fulston Manor (Sittingbourne), Dover Christ Church Academy, Highworth Grammar (Ashford) and Holy Trinity (Crawley) battled it out in front of an enthusiastic audience of teachers and parents.  The winning team was Highworth Grammar.

“Through taking part in the competition students gain an understanding of legal rights and responsibilities and the role and workings of the criminal justice system,” explained John.

“Over 95% of criminal cases are dealt with by magistrates’ courts and their public galleries are open to anybody who wishes to visit, yet many people know very little about their role.

“It’s great to see the effort and research the students put in and how inspired they are to take part. There were some real stars who could have a bright future if they choose law as a profession.”