Students of the Law Programmes at St Mary’s University, Twickenham took part in a mock trial using the University’s new moot court.
The students got to play out a mock trial of 37-year-old businessman Bharat Patel, who allegedly assaulted 13-year-old boy Adam for stealing from his shop.
This case involved many witnesses and allowed students to develop advocacy techniques as well as building public speaking skills vital in the legal profession and wider workplace.
The trial took place in St Mary’s moot court, which was opened in this year’s first semester to help students take part in simulated court proceedings in a professional environment.
Leading the trial, along with academic staff from the Law Programmes, was Senior Circuit Judge Peter Lodder QC. Peter is Resident Judge at Kingston Crown Court and was in charge of a high-profile court case in 2017 in which two dancers were found guilty of blackmailing rugby player Danny Cipriani.
The mock trial jury, which was made up of St Mary’s law students, found defendant Bharat not guilty of assault and released him.
First year Law with Criminology LLB student Elizabeth O’Connor said, “I think the mock trial has really helped me, not only in law, but in life. I have taken part in public speaking activities before but never in this kind of setting and I found it incredibly helpful to be working with two amazing second year LLB students and felt that it was an opportunity to network and take advice from them both.
“It was also great to meet Peter and put his advice into practice so even when the witnesses threw us a curveball we were able to think on our feet and change the line of questioning. Getting to hear from him about the life of a judge means I now have no doubts about going into advocacy and hopefully will be able to put the skills I learnt into practice in a real court.”
Programme Director for Law Jenny Henry added, “We were delighted to welcome back such an experienced and accomplished member of the judiciary. Peter’s support is invaluable for our students and for all who took part, either as advocates, witnesses, jury members or members of the public gallery, it was a highly successful way of increasing confidence and creating an in-depth level of engagement and reflection on this aspect of the criminal justice system. I have no doubt events such as this help build the professional skills our students need to give them a cutting edge in future employment.”