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20 June, 2007

Over 250 12-14 year olds to appear in Nottingham Magistrates Court

Attention Picture Desks/ News Editors

Photo/ Broadcast Opportunity

Date: Saturday 23 June 2007

Location: Nottingham Magistrates’ Court

Programme:

9.30am Start of day

11:15am Round 1, R v Sam Beatter

12:15 Lunch

1:15pm Round 2, R v Marty Dixon

3pm Prize giving Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Muhammed Munir

Over 250 12-14 year olds from England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be appearing in Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 23 June to take part in the National Final of the Magistrates’ Mock Trial Competition. Run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association, the Competition is aimed at demystifying the law for year 8 and 9 pupils in a fun, interactive and educational way.

Teams from eighteen schools (see below) from around England, Wales and Northern Ireland have fought off stiff competition at local and regional heats earlier this year to make it through to Saturday’s grand final.

Each team of students will use carefully constructed witness statements to prepare the prosecution and defence of two specially written criminal cases. They will take on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff and compete against each other in a live format, with one team prosecuting and the other defending. Their performances will be judged by real magistrates and other legal professionals.

The two criminal cases will be R v Sam Beatter where the ‘defendant’ is accused of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and R v Marty Dixon, an actual bodily harm case.

The Competition will be opened by Sir Andrew Buchanan, Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire and Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation. The Closing address will be given by Lord Mayor of Nottingham, Councillor Muhammed Munir and Michael Maclay, Chair of trustees at the Citizenship Foundation.

Speaking about the Competition, Tony Breslin said “Over 95% of criminal cases, more than one million every year, are dealt with by magistrates, yet very few people know enough about their vital role. The Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition offers young people a hands-on introduction to the legal system, the role of magistrates' courts in local justice and how laws are administered. All the teams taking part today have done really well to make it to the National Final and we wish them all best of luck.”

Notes for editors:

1. About the Citizenship Foundation

The Citizenship Foundation is an independent charity (no.801360) which aims to empower individuals to engage in the wider community through education about the law, democracy and society, Founded in 1989, it focuses on developing young people’s citizenship skills, knowledge and understanding. Its work includes resources, training, active learning programmes, community projects and research. www.citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

2. About the Competition

Now in its 13th successful year, the Magistrates’ Court Mock Trial Competition is run by the Citizenship Foundation in partnership with the Magistrates’ Association and is funded by the Ministry of Justice and Wilkinson.

Each year the competition it involves 4,500 young people throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 800 magistrates and other legal professionals. It is open to all state funded secondary schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

4. Participating schools

Canon Slade School, Bolton

Ysgol Tregib, Wales

Farlingaye High School, Suffolk

Foyle and Londonderry College, Northern Ireland

Broomfield School, Enfield

Cockermouth School, Cumbria

St Birinus School, Oxfordshire

Church Stretton School, Shropshire

Colyton Grammar School, Devon

Edgbarrow School, Berkshire

Walton Girls' High School, Lincolnshire

St Nicholas Catholic High, Cheshire

Arden School, Solihull

South Holderness Technology College, Preston

Furze Platt Senior School, Berkshire

Eggar's School, Hampshire

Stanway School, Essex

Northolt High School, Ealing

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