School Court Competition 2016
Girls in Y10 and 11 scoop Bronze Prize...
At the end of January the School was asked to take part in the school courts competition, which is normally only open to state schools, as three schools had dropped out. There followed a week of meetings with a superb and very supportive team of lawyers from Cartwright King before the competition itself on Saturday 6 February.
Mr Norbury and Mrs Morgan met the team of 13 Y10 and 11 girls at the Crown Court in Leicester at 8.30am, and the students were whisked off to their relevant rooms: the robing room for advocates Ruhi Vaitha and Mariam Hussain to be kitted out in wigs collars and gowns; Zakiya Valera, Asiyah Ibrahim, Maya Harran, Avneet Attwal, Praveen Ragi and Nisha Rupiya to the Jury assembly room; reporter Roshni Jutha to the press room; witnesses Shivani Ganesh and Maryam Durojaiye with their witness care officer, Mashal Shakeel to the witness room and Sabah Haq our usher/clerk for the day to the court official’s room.
After receiving instructions for the day, everyone gathered in Court 2 for the opening and welcome by HHJ Dean QC. It was a bit of a tight squeeze and Mr Norbury and Mrs Morgan ended up in the dock for this session!
For our first trial the girls were defending in Court 1 in front of His Honour Judge Mooncey. The advocates and witnesses were amazing and put so much doubt into the minds of the Jury that a unanimous verdict of not guilty was returned.
In the afternoon session, it was the School's turn to prosecute, presided over by Her Honour Judge Lucking QC, and once again, the girls did a sterling job; unbeknown to Mr Norbury and Mrs Morgan, witness Shivani had received extra instructions to get really angry in order to be told off several times by the Judge; she did such a good job that the staff were very concerned that she was actually going to be thrown out of court and ruin the School's chances! Several tissues had to be provided by witness care (Mashal) for Maryam, the other witness, who also acted her part very well. These two witnesses enabled the defence case to crumble and together with excellent questioning from the advocates, Ruhi and Mariam, resulted in a majority verdict in the School's favour. A custodial sentence for the defendant!
LHS's six jurors all heard other schools put their cases across and argued their point of view; Nisha was elected to be foreperson of the jury in both her trials and as a court official, Sabah actually got to see the bit where the Judges go!
Everyone finally re-assembled in Court 2 for the awards to be presented by the five High Court Judges. Roshni received a special mention for her press report and LHS received the Bronze Trophy for the best school. After a group photograph with the Judges, the day ended at about 4pm.
Special thanks go to Imogen Cox, Zoe Lee and Charlotte Bradford, the legal team from Cartwright King for their time and the excellent support and advice they provided to prepare out team at such short notice.