Pupils get a taste of court

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Courtroom drama is never in short supply, and that was certainly true when young people from across Aberdeenshire ran their own criminal courts.

They recently played all of the roles needed to hold a court in front of real-life sheriffs at Aberdeen Sheriff and High Courts.

Pupils representing eight secondary schools put their case to be named the area’s top budding legal eagles during an inaugural mock trials competition.

The pupils were lawyers, witnesses, court staff and jurors – and even court reporters and press officers – as the schools competed against each other in simulated court cases.

Legal professionals passed verdict on their performance during the day-long contest, which it is hoped will become an annual event.

The schools involved were Banchory, Ellon, Inverurie, Mackie, Mearns, Meldrum and Turriff Academies, and Gordon Schools in Huntly.

Two of the participating schools – each represented by up to 16 pupils with support from professional solicitors from local firms – took part in a ‘final’ trial as the climax to the day.

Each school was in one of two leagues and faced three rounds of trials and the real legal professionals were impressed by the quality of the performance of the pupils.

At the end of the three rounds, Ellon Academy and the Gordon Schools, Huntly were undefeated and faced each other in the final.

The final in front of Sheriff Kieran McLernan saw the Gordon Schools emerge as winners of the inaugural competition.

The team was presented with a shield and cheque for £150 from sponsors Maclay Murray & Spens LLP.

Running parallel with the mock trial were competitions for court reporters and press officers.

The Court Reporter competition was won by Banchory Academy and the Press Officer competition by Meldrum Academy.

The event was organised by Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure (ELL) service with support from the Scottish Court Service.