Article from The Leicester Mercury- Impressed judges watch over 100 Leicester pupils stage mock trials



By Suzy Gibson: Court reporter

  • Mark Bramley


School courts comp

Impressed judges watch over 100 Leicester pupils stage mock trials


More than 100 pupils from 10 city schools staged mock trials in front of real judges, during a competition at Leicester Crown Court.

The school’s court competition, now in its’ fourth year, gave students the chance to act out the roles of barristers, clerks, jurors, ushers, witnesses – and even play the part of the accused.

Ten pupils also took on the role of court reporters and submitted news articles on the day.

The mock trials – based on the crime of a robbery – were presided over by Judges Nicholas Dean QC, Simon Hammond, Ebraham Mooncey, Robert Brown and Adrienne Lucking QC.

The ten 13-strong teams were mentored by practicing solicitors and barristers, who coached the would-be legal eagles before the event.

The competition was organised by a committee off three Leicester-based legal experts, solicitor/advocate Helen Johnson, and barristers, Mary Prior, with husband, Paul Prior.

Miss Johnson said after the all-day event on Saturday: “This year we saw some outstanding advocacy.

“One judge said he felt as if he was in a real trial and another commented on the teamwork between the advocates and their ability to control the witnesses, which even professional advocates sometimes struggle with.

“The winning court witness (Hari-Arjun Parmar, of English Martyrs Catholic School) was described as having given an ‘Oscar winning performance.’

“The participating schools produced strong teams who were able to effectively participate in the process and which the students found both educational and entertaining.

“The competition goes from strength to strength and couldn’t take place without the voluntary support of the judges, professional mentors, court staff, teachers and other helpers who all give up their precious free time.

“All participating students get a certificate and feedback from the judges.”

Judge Dean said after the awards presentation: “The standard was excellent.”

Judge Mooncey said: “It was a fantastic event and the students showed great potential; many gaining confidence from speaking in public.

“They all seemed to enjoy it.”

Winner of the Leicester Mercury court reporter’s cup was 15-year-old Helen Nattrass, of St Pauls Catholic School.

She said: “I couldn’t believe it when they said my name.

“I’ve had a look into journalism before and it does look pretty interesting.”


  • Best Advocate: Frances Pooley, Sir Jonathan North Community College
  • Best School team (Gold): Sir Jonathan North Community College
  • Best School (silver): English Martyrs Catholic School
  • Best School (bronze): Leicester High School
  • Best Court Official: Ruth Adeleke, Sir Jonathan North Community College
  • Exceptional Ability: Khaya Bhebhe, English Martyrs Catholic School
  • Best Witness: Hari-Arjun Parmar, English Martyrs Catholic School
  • Best Juror: Sabita Kandel – Rushey Mead School
  • Best witness care: Sarah Piranie, Manor High School
  • Best Court Reporter: Elizabeth Nattrass, St Pauls Catholic School (special mention to runner-up Roshini Jutha, Leicester High School, who also submitted the best headline)

The participating schools were: Soar Valley College, Samworth Academy, Manor High School, Leicester High School, English Martyrs Catholic School, St Paul’s Catholic School, Hamilton Community College, Rushey Mead School, Sir Jonathan North Community College and Moat Community College.

The Leicester Mercury sponsored the event, along with The Grand Mecure Hotel, barristers’ chambers at 36 Bedford Row and 1 High Pavement, along with solicitors firms: Bushra Ali, Bray and Bray, Emery Johnson Astills, Moosa Duke and Hollingsworth.