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“Every Contact Leaves a Trace”

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Those were the words of Sir Edmond Locard, French Criminologist and pioneer in forensic science. They were also pivotal words in the case file teams from Sheffield Girls and Chapeltown Academy focused on in the 2018 Mock Trial final held last week in The University’s Thomas Van Haaren Moot Court on July 4th. The teams had successfully navigated two rounds of debate heats presenting rigorous arguments on freedom of speech and online privacy before facing each other in a criminal case of Joint Enterprise in a gang related murder.

The idea behind this principle is that when A comes into contact with B, something from A is transferred to B and vice versa. The presence of the substance does not conclude that the person was in close vicinity to the crime, just that they had at some point come into contact with the substances.

And so, in the presence of His Honour Judge Graham Robinson, it was down to Chapeltown for the prosecution to prove that the defendant, Denzel Knight, was culpable for the murder of Max Carlson and - more importantly for the competition - to score more points than the Sheffield Girls' for the defence - to be crowned winners of this years' competition.

Both teams deserve high praise for their research, team work and presentation skills (key areas students hone throughout) in the heats and in the final. Teams are required to work well together in order to plan their approach to the case and manage the demands of this against the school work and mock exams during the busy summer term.

After an hour in court, the jury - made up of academics and professionals from local solicitors firms - retired to consider the case and total up the points for both sides. After 30 minutes of deliberation, the jury foreman announced to the court that the team with the most points and 2018 winners were Chapeltown Academy. This was the first time in the competition for Chapeltown and so an even more impressive victory in the face of a very well prepared team from Sheffield Girls'.

The annual Mock Trial Competition is organised by members of the Schools and Colleges Engagement Team at Sheffield Hallam University. The competition provides students with the opportunity to gain experience within a courtroom setting, develop their public speaking skills and master the art of thinking on your feet. 8 teams of six from regional schools and colleges competed in two rounds of heats in March and May 2018, battling it out for a place in the final held in July.

Thank you to all participating teams and congratulations to Chapeltown Academy on their victory.

Follow our team on Twitter @SHUoutreach and for more details about the competition please contact m.lawton-hunt@shu.ac.uk

Matthew Lawton-Hunt
Schools and Colleges Engagement Team

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