Suffolk: Students learn their lesson from trying day in court

Pupils from five Suffolk schools appeared in court this weekend – but thankfully it was all in the name of education.

Pupils from Northgate High School and Westbourne Sports College in Ipswich, East Bergholt High School, Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge and King Edward VI High School in Bury St Edmunds took part in a national mock trial competition.

The 12 to 14-year-olds took on roles of lawyers, witnesses and court staff to act out a trial at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, Ipswich.

And the youngsters took their parts seriously. They spent six weeks preparing to make their delivery realistic and impress witnesses, including magistrates and other legal professionals.

This year the cases focus on domestic violence.

Issy O’Riordan, a year nine pupil at Farlingaye, relished her role as a witness.

The 13-year-old said: “My character is allowed to get really angry with the lawyers so it got quite heated.”

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For classmate Seth Spain, it was an opportunity to hone skills he is already learning at his local youth theatre. He took on the role of defence lawyer.

The 13-year-old said: “I really enjoy performing. I got to make a speech so it was a good experience.”

Northgate High School pupil Jemima Hyndmarch particularly enjoyed her role as a prosecution lawyer because she hopes to become a barrister. The 14-year-old said: “I was nervous at first but I think I got better. Becoming a barrister appeals to me because it seems like a really interesting job and it’s a bit different.”

Jack Blackbeard, who is also in year nine at Northgate, was playing the part of the journalist covering the case. The 14-year-old will file a report as part of the school’s competition entry.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in writing and would like to be a journalist.”

Northgate teacher Amy Hubbard said she was proud of the pupils’ efforts. “They have worked so hard,” she said. “None of us have ever been in a courtroom, so that has been interesting in itself, but for those pupils thinking about studying law it has been a really good opportunity.”