Leading schools from across the whole of Manchester compete in the Sir Rhys Davies mock trials every year in the Manchester Crown Courts.
Teams are given witness statements and documents and are asked to prepare both Defence and Prosecution cases before trials take place in court following exactly the same format as a real trial.
This year, our Year 12 barristers Isobel Lewis, Emily Wilson, Amaan Sadiq and Hashim Tahir had to defend or prosecute Jamie Dodger who was involved in dodgy dealings at a local biscuit factory and Hari Houdini who conjured up a disappearing act in relation to a valuable silver cane. Witnesses were played by our team members Rhys Seddon, Mariam Khan, Sanjush Dalmia and Joe Edgar. Anisha Patel and Ben Wilkinson coordinated court proceedings as ushers. Rhys Seddon was unforgettable as Jamie Dodger in his shiny shellsuit, pulling gum out of his mouth and sticking it behind his ear as he took to the witness stand. Mariam Khan was resplendent in a bright orange wig, playing the part of witness Ginger Nut, swaying in the stand after a few ‘wee drams.’
The barristers wore wigs and gowns, and the trials took place in courtrooms in front of real judges. One judge told our teams that the facts of the Jamie Dodger case were based on a real trial. Teams had to know the cases very well, understand court procedure, and demonstrate a high standard of skill in presenting their cases and questioning witnesses effectively. Although the day was great fun, it was also taken very seriously – certainly by the judges. Our teams did immensely well to rise to the demands of the occasion, and one team won all three of their cases. They narrowly missed a place in the final on a points basis, despite having defeated one of the two teams who got through. Rhys Seddon, as Jamie Dodger, offered us the following insightful analysis: ‘We was robbed, innit?’
We will definitely be back next year!