Wholeschool Portal | Home 22 March 2018
Bar Mock Trial Competition 2017/18

Saturday 9th December 2017 when all school activities were cancelled as result of snow and severe weather, the Ballymena Academy team of 16 competing in the Regional heat of the ‘Bar Mock Trial’ braved the weather and were train bound for Derry/ Londonderry at 9am. 

Three months of hard work with twice weekly sessions culminated in the delivery of an outstanding performance from the whole team resulting in a complete sweep of prizes on offer in the Regional competition including overall team, best barrister and best witness.

The competition is in its 26th year but this is the first year that Ballymena Academy has entered a team. The regional competition took part in the wonderful setting of Derry/ Londonderry Court house and provided the team with real hands on experience of work and life of our criminal justice system and an opportunity to compete in an actual court setting and in front of real judges, barristers and advocates.

After the application process, four teams were selected to compete against each other; Thornhill College, Foyle College, Cookstown High School and Ballymena Academy.

The competition requires preparation of both prosecution and defence arguments, cross examination and witnesses for each scenario. Case one was theft, and case 2 was assault and grievous bodily harm. 

Saturday consisted of 3 rounds against each of the other teams with the 2 top scoring teams pitted against each other in the final. Points were awarded out of ten for the performance of each participating student combining to give a team score. Scoring was based on specific criteria; clarity, accuracy, spontaneity (non-reliance on notes) and timekeeping. The scoring and therefore progression in the competition was based on the ‘real’ Judges’ decisions.

Ballymena Academy team progressed to the final and in which they were the Prosecuting council for the assault and grievous bodily harm case opposed by Cookstown High School who were the defence. The Barristers for the final were Katie McKillen and Shonagh Nelson and witnesses were Jessica Gregg and James Brown who performed to the high standard Ballymena Academy had delivered throughout the whole day.

The team now have the opportunity to compete in the UK National Final to be held in Cardiff in spring of next year.

This performance reflected the hard work, guidance and dedication of Mrs Matchett, past pupil Emma McIlveen, Barrister at Law, and the 16 pupils.

Team: James Brown, Susannah Crabbe, Martyn Doherty, Harry Fleming, Jessica Gregg, Kerri Gregg, Megan Kernohan, Sarah Logan, Karen Maxwell, Lucy Mc Cormill, Chloe Mc Gall, Erin McKay, Katie McKillen, Sarah Mc Nabney, Shonagh Nelson and Molly Reid.

Report thanks to James Brown.
Photographs thanks to Mrs Matchett.