St Albans students come up before the beak for mock-trial

STUDENTS dusted off an old Victorian courtroom and put a defendant on trial for assault there last week.

Oaklands College A-level law students were put to the test in a mock-trial competition held in the old courtroom at the back of St Albans Town Hall, one of the few remaining pre-Victorian courtrooms in the country.

Students were split into teams, one defending and one accusing the defendant who was charged with assault causing actual bodily harm after an incident in a pub. Students had prepared their cases in advance but on the morning of the trial, last-minute evidence was put forward to help create a real-life experience of being part of a legal team preparing for a trial.

Witnesses, the judge and members of the jury were also played by Oaklands students and the whole case was presided over by Richard Downing, ex criminal lawyer and former president of the Herts Law Society.

Simon Cohl, senior advanced skills practitioner at Oaklands College, said: “We were very lucky to be able to hold our mock trial in such a historical and meaningful setting. The environment and costumes helped the learners to immerse themselves in the role and they gave an outstanding performance.”