On the 21 April, the full Loreto Balbriggan Mock Trials team headed down to the Criminal Courts of Justice, transforming for a day into barristers, solicitors, witnesses, jury members and others. We had been preparing for the cases, the DPP v. Francis Cara and the DPP v. Pat Plaice, for about two weeks. Both were criminal cases: one was about an alleged burglary, and the other an alleged arson attack in the form of a petrol bombing. We were all very excited and nervous entering courtroom 13, where the three trials were due to take place: we were acting as prosecution and defence for the Pat Plaice case, and as defence for the Francis Cara case. Our barristers were Emily O'Sullivan, Zoefia Woods, Ailís Odell and Ailbhe Rogers, and working alongside them were solicitors Megan Carroll, Ciara O'Reilly and Alessandra Griusario. We also had brilliant court registrars, tipstaffs and timekeepers, Ruby Pereira, Aoife Kenney and Alannah Ward who ensured that the rules of court were upheld. Also working in the courtroom on the day were court reporter, Orlagh Herne, photographer, Milana Vilenskya and sketch artist, Lauryn Flynn.
Each case was presided over by a judge, and while a jury (made up of students from other schools) was present to decide on a verdict, it was the judge who scored the contestants and who decided on the real winner of each trial.
There were stunning performances from all of our witnesses, whose quick thinking and talented acting helped them to outmanouver the opposing barristers who were cross-examining them, and in the case of Aoibha Mulhall (as the shopkeeper Gabby Codd), the other barrister struggled to even get a word in, as she rambled on and on! Maeve Curnyn acted as Pat Plaice, the accused: a former burglarer determined not to return to the dark place of her past, Mount "Sadness", and who was simply a diabetic whose insulin monitor had run out of batteries, which she needed straight away. Emma Dolan acted as Billy Boyce, an eccentric physics professor who smokes a pipe, and uses a walking stick, and who was wrting his thesis on molecular physics and the effects of dark matter on the growth of mushrooms (a special thanks to Mr Higgins for his tie!). Ailís played Garda O'Reilly, while the gun-owning, but terrified-out-of-her-life shopkeeper, Gabby Codd, was played by Aoibha Mulhall. The dear, charming Majorie Magoo, a just-turned-60-year-old off-licence worker, was played by Clíodhna Bowers, who was "on it like a car bonnet!" Finally dressed all in pink, was the Legally Blonde styled Dearbhla Flynn, acting as the young Francis Cara, who owned the nail salon, 'Fingertips by Fran'. Unfortunately, the judge refused to let her take her pink handbag and Bruiser the chihuahua up with her to the witness stand.
We won all three of our cases! There were tears and hugs at every victory of the day, and to top it all off, it was announced at the end that we had won 2nd overall, out of around forty schools nationwide! Everyone was absolutely thrilled, knowing that we had gotten through to the second round of the competition, the semi-finals. It couldn't have been done of course without the hours of hard work and preparation we had put into the Mock Trials, including the efforts of the research team and the costume department, as well of course as the time and effort put in by Mr Daly and Ms O'Neill, and all the teachers who had to put up with us missing class for over a week!
The work however, is not yet even nearly finished. Best of luck to all the girls who will be taking part in Round 2 of the Mock Trials competition, the semi-finals, on May 12th! Keep up the hard work!