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Students in court for mock trial schools final


A group of school students stood behind a judge who is sat down in a courtroom

Students from two schools battled it out in the final of a mock trial competition at the University of Bradford.

Bingley’s Beckfoot School and Ripon Grammar School each sent teams of budding lawyers to take part in the mock trial, heard in front of Judge Jonathan Rose, Honorary Recorder of Bradford. 

Students from Ripon Grammar School prosecuted, while Beckfoot were the defence during the trial. 

The mock case featured defendant Joshua Jericho, played by the university School of Law’s Ed Mowlam, who faced a criminal damage charge. Jericho was accused of destroying a public statue in the fictional city of Braduniville on November 9, 2023, during a peaceful environmental protest. 

a school student in uniform stood up at in a courtroom cross-examining a person sat in the witness box

The court heard tree surgeon Jericho had climbed a plinth, spray-painted the bronze statue of Victorian industrialist, Jebediah Braduni, who Jericho branded ‘a climate criminal’, with black paint to symbolise oil, before he decapitated the statue with a hacksaw. 

The participating students took turns to call witnesses, all from the School of Law, who they cross-examined. The other trial witnesses were Colossus Rhodes, played by Prince Olokotor; Chief Superintendent De Milo [Rosalili Wan Rosli] and fellow environmental protester Athena Colston [Irekpitan Okukpon].  

Beckfoot School were crowned winners of the final, decided by a panel including Judge Rose and representatives from the University of Bradford’s School of Law.  

A teacher and school students in legal ropes and wigs stood up behind a seated judge

Aldo Hasalla, part of the winning Beckfoot School team with Milla Shuttleworth and Isa Rashid, said: “I’m excited to win. We are very proud.

“We appreciated the other team. They were extraordinary. I have always wanted to become a lawyer. We did a good job on a difficult case.”

Lucy Lowde, Beckfoot School teacher, said: “I’m very proud of them. They have been challenged by a real-life sitting judge and kept going. They have been a really good team.”

Bob Walker, Ripon Grammar School teacher, said: “It is a great experience for the students as they get to see how a courtroom works. One of our students who took part in a previous year has since been called to the bar.”

A group of university staff stood up in a courtroom behind a seated judge

Speaking after the final, Judge Rose said: “Young students never cease to amaze me, with the talent that they have. I did not know how old the students were before, but they demonstrated a maturity beyond their years. 

“It is inspirational that these students take part in this competition. They are prepared to stand up and engage in advocacy with an appropriate amount of confidence and extreme eloquence.”

The mock trial was held in the university’s Lady Hale Court, named after the Yorkshire-born former President of the Supreme Court, who was the first woman to be appointed to the Law Commission, the first woman Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and the first woman president of the Supreme Court. Lady Brenda Hale was awarded an Honorary Degree from the University of Bradford in 2019.

Professor Engobo Emeseh, Head of the Law School at the University of Bradford, said: “We were excited to be hosting the fourth in the series of these competitions. 

“We are really happy to be part of the next generation of lawyers’ journey and that they get a taste of what advocacy is like, but more importantly, developing their skillset whatever career they choose to pursue. 

“Students benefit in many ways from taking part in this competition – they build their confidence, teamwork and their ability to think on their feet.”

Launched in 2020, the mock trial competition for schools is an annual event at the University of Bradford. This year’s final took place on Thursday 9 May. The mock trial final followed two earlier rounds which were held online earlier in the academic year and initially involved eight participating schools from West and North Yorkshire.