Shown to the cells – but only temporarily!

04 Oct


IT'S NOT usually an enjoyable experience, but being shown to the cells will be a highlight this weekend for pupils from eight schools in Edinburgh.

The teenagers are taking part in a MiniTrials event, an initiative developed by the Faculty of Advocates to demystify the law and show what happens in a criminal trial.

Helped by lawyer volunteers and working from information packs compiled by the Faculty, the pupils act out two jury trials – an assault case and a drugs case – in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

They convene the court, prosecute and defend the accused, and deliver a verdict, under the watchful eye of a professional lawyer who takes the role of the sheriff.

And the day would not be complete without cell visits, which always prove highly popular.

MiniTrials were the idea of the judge, Lord Kinclaven, and began in 2002. Thousands of pupils throughout Scotland have found it an enjoyable way to learn about the law.

“One of the great attractions of MiniTrials is having them in real courtrooms, which adds to the occasion and helps the understanding of what happens in our courts on a daily basis,” said the Dean of Faculty, Gordon Jackson, QC.

“It’s important when there are so many ways, on screen and in print, for misconceptions to be given that youngsters should know how we do things in Scotland, and that we have our own unique system. I am very proud of the Faculty’s continuing role in MiniTrials. We all owe Lord Kinclaven our thanks for this initiative.”

The Edinburgh event is on Saturday, 7 October, and features teams from Balerno High, Craigmount High, Forrester High, Holy Rood High, James Gillespie’s High, Portobello High, Royal High and St Thomas of Aquin’s High.