On Thursday 24 May and Friday 25 May, students on our Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) acted as counsel for the prosecution and defence in a two-day mock murder trial on Frenchay campus.
The mock trial was based on the plot of the award winning novel Infinite Sky by CJ Flood.
Infinite Sky, a story about a teenage girl trying to come to terms with the abandonment of her mother when a family of gypsies set up an illegal camp in the paddock by her house, contains a violent death. It is this violent death that was explored in the mock trial.
His Honour Judge Johnson, a Circuit Judge who sits at Isleworth Crown Court, presided over the trial and the witnesses were played by a combination of professional actors, together with amateur actors from UWE Bristol’s Drama School, Law School and a local high school.
CJ Flood, the author, also attended the trial to find out the verdict for for the characters she had created. Read her account of the trial on her blog.
Members of the BPTC teaching team acted as ushers, jury bailiffs and court clerks, whilst the jury was made up of students.
The mock trial was open to members of the public as well as staff and students.
After all the witnesses had been cross examined and re-examined, the two day trial culminated in closing speeches from both sides before the jury went out to make their decision. Returning after an hour or so, they found the defendant not guilty of murder.
The trial was an incredible learning experience for our students and gave them the opportunity experience first hand what a real trial would be like.
Thank you to everyone involved who helped bring Infinite Sky to life for the purpose of the trial and a massive thank you to CJ Flood for agreeing to let us host the trial.