Pupils lay down the law in mock trial

Children from Norristhorpe School taking part in mock trials in the old courthouse at Dewsbury Town Hall . (d10021209)
Children from Norristhorpe School taking part in mock trials in the old courthouse at Dewsbury Town Hall . (d10021209)
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LAW was the order of the day for a group of schoolchildren who took part in a mock trial.

The pupils, from Norristhorpe School, played the parts of magistrates, solicitors, witnesses and the accused in the old courtrooms at Dewsbury Town Hall.

They played out a case of a young man aged between 10 and 17 who had stolen a car.

The event was organised by Kirklees magistrates, who work with schools to show them what they do.

Magistrate Barry Lockwood said: “First we went into the school and did a presentation, and then gave the pupils a script to learn. Then they came to the court to run it. The script is similar to things we deal with in court, but it’s all fictional. They have two weeks to get to know it.

“When they walk into the court, it hits them what it is all about and what the court does. They don’t realise that someone as 10 can be locked away for committing a very serious crime – they can’t believe it.

“After the trial they have to decide whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. We don’t help them, we just go through the evidence with them.

“It gives them an insight into how courts work and the scheme does work well. The response we get from teachers is fantastic and we are asked back year after year.”

He said some schools had said they had seen a marked improvement in children’s behaviour after they had taken part in the project. Magistrates will continue to run the mock trials in Dewsbury Town Hall after Dewsbury Magistrates Court closes in March.