Last weekend 13 Downside pupils took part in the Mock Trial Competition at Wood Green Crown Court, London, immersing them in all aspects of a criminal trial.

The Competition gives pupils the opportunity to take part in realistic court cases with real judges, pitting their skills against other schools, encouraging the development of skills such as logical reasoning, communication and teamwork.

The Competition comprised two cases in which the team played the roles of barristers, witnesses, court clerk, usher and jurors. Over three rounds, barristers Judetta, Stephanie, Joseph, Barney and Owain argued persuasively and fluently for both prosecution (once) and defence (twice) in the two criminal cases based on an acid attack and a bank fraud, in front of the real-life judges of the courts, and against other the other schools.

Maria, Michael, Rosie, Celestine and Lily were examined and cross-examined as various witnesses from a bank clerk to a possible perpetrator of the acid attack. They acquitted themselves with confidence and aplomb. Angus performed his duties as clerk and usher very convincingly, and Ambrose sat on four different juries.

Downside did extremely well to reach the final round but were eventually just pipped to the post by Norwich School.

Thanks must go to Hugh Preston QC who once again kindly helped prepare the cases and advised pupils on the way to run them.

“It was informative and educational to see the proceedings of a court.” Juan Pablo, Fourth Form

“I am interested in pursuing a career in Law. I feel like the Mock Trial was a valuable experience for that and gave me insight into the proceedings of a real court room.” Stephanie, Fifth Form

Mock Trial Club is just one of over 70 co-curricular options available at Downside. The activities, clubs and societies offered at the School aim to develop and meet the interests of every pupil, from fencing and gardening to the School magazine and CCF. Click here for a full list of the co-curricular options.