To get this far, we’ve had to win our local heat in Huddersfield and the regional final in Burnley. The National Finals will be in Birmingham on 16th June.
We only had three weeks to prepare the case. It was about handling stolen goods: a phone, a gold ring and designer headphones. The things were definitely stolen; Jordan Bates has admitted he stole them from Charlie Farah, a rich student who picks on people who aren’t as lucky as her. She’s been targeting Jordan’s friend, Alex, taunting her for only having an old Nokia. When he was caught stealing Charlie’s laptop, Jordan told the police that it was Alex who suggested Jordan steal the things to get revenge on Charlie. He’d done the stealing while Charlie was in class, and Alex kept the things. The police searched Alex’s bedroom and, sure enough, they were all there. On the face of it, Alex was bang to rights.
However, she tells a different story. She says Jordan gave her the things as early Christmas presents, and she had no idea they were stolen. She’s a bit naïve, and she believed Jordan when he said he’d bought them from a cheap website. What’s weird here is that the phone was on factory settings, and Alex had had it nearly a month. That suggests she’s lying, and the phone was ready to be sold on. On the other hand, the phone had a brand new SIM card in it. If you’ve got a stolen phone, you’ll want to sell it on as quickly as possible, and you won’t bother buying a new SIM card, will you?
Our barristers, Jessica Davidson, Abi Beton, Martha Simpson and George Ainsworth were confident, calculated, clear and punchy. Our witnesses, Isaac Jackson (Jordan, the thief who has a motive to implicate Alex as it will reduce his sentence), Sophie Williams (Charlie, the rich bully who never wastes an opportunity to put Alex down), Katie Dickinson (Alex, the gullible teachers’ pet who doesn’t think it’s odd to be given unwrapped luxury items on different dates at the beginning of December) and Nyiree Couligan (Alex’s teacher, who believes every word Alex says) were assured and gave as good as they got. Our Magistrates, Wiktoria Czartoryjska, Amelia McLaughlin, Laura Keay, Abi Beton and George Ainsworth, gave meticulously reasoned decisions. Our legal advisor, Charlotte Vose, and our usher, Ellie Cockburn, were polite and courteous and carried out their duties immaculately.
It’s difficult to convey how much of a sweat it is to get this far. The team worked many hours, analysing the evidence, and putting arguments together. The witnesses had to anticipate every possible question that could come their way and have a good answer ready. Barristers had to plan their questions very carefully, so that it would lead answers which supported their case. Magistrates had to take an overview of the evidence and evaluate it, bearing in mind the contradictions and motivations of the witnesses. It’s been hard work, and a long journey, and being in the top 16 teams in the country, out of hundreds of other teams, is a feat in itself.
Many thanks to Bott + Co for their support of our team over the past year. Wish us luck in the final!