Teams of budding lawyers displayed strong advocacy skills in the National Schools Mock Trial Competition.

Brentside High School , Hanwell, won the first round of the contest held in the morning of March 15 and Swakeleys School for Girls, Hillingdon, won the afternoon heat both held at Ealing Magistrates Court.

Pupils aged 12-14 from Ealing and Hillingdon secondary schools took part and were honoured by the presence of Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Kamaljit Dhindsa and the Lady Mayoress Amarjit Dhindsa.

The youngsters successfully prosecuted and defended a case of handling stolen goods, namely a distinctive custom built bicycle, giving accounts of what they saw and heard and the magistrates gave well reasoned decisions for their verdict.

There was big competition from Greenford High and Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Acton, in the first round and Featherstone High, Southall, and the Alec Reed Academy, Northolt, in the second.

Individual awards for star performances were also given out; Kara Adamson from Brentside High won an award as a magistrate demonstrating her ability to argue her point giving clear and structured reasons for her decision, whilst Sophia Syedah from Ellen Wilkinson was rewarded for her strong portrayal of a prosecution witness. 

Sofia Syedah from Ellen Wilkinson school, winner of Star Pupil award
 

In the afternoon Mani Saini, Defence Lawyer of Featherstone High School, and Lauren Richards, prosecution witness of Swakeleys School, were equally convincing in their roles and were awarded star performers for the second heat.

Both winning schools now go on to the regional final in May at Lavender Hill Magistrates Court, Battersea.

The competition is sponsored by the Citizenship Foundation in conjunction with the Magistrates Association and was delivered locally by a team of 25 volunteer magistrates and lawyers.