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19 October, 2006

12-14 year olds to take over at Cardiff Magistrates' Court

On Saturday 21 October, pupils from Abersychan Comprehensive School, Pontypool and Tonypandy Community College, will take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff to try a case in Cardiff Magistrates’ Court as a pilot heat for the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association.

The two teams of students, from years 8 and 9 will compete against each other in a live format, and will be judged by real magistrates and other legal professionals. They will use carefully constructed witness statements to prepare the prosecution and defence of a specially written criminal case, R v Toni Mitchell, where the student playing Toni Mitchell will stand accused of joyriding.

Elin, a pupil participating in the North Wales pilot commented, “There is a lot of responsibility attached to being a magistrate. It requires listening carefully to everything that you hear in court. You are dealing with people’s lives. I thought that magistrates were people who enjoyed dishing out punishment. The lady that visited our school was not that kind of magistrate.” Fellow pupil Sion added, “It was a fantastic and realistic experience to be in a proper court.”

Both teams are planning to take part in the 2006/2007 Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition which will run from March to June 2007. Schools interested in signing up to take part should contact mcmt@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk or call 0207 566 4155.

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