After close to 18 months of training, Trinity’s 2021 Mock Trial team finally participated in their first competitive trial last Thursday (29 April, 2021), much to everyone’s anticipation and excitement. The team had previously seen the 2020 season cancelled days before their first trial, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a forfeiture in Round 1 of the 2021 season prevented us from trying our hand at displaying our Mock Trial skills. Despite further delays and uncertainty around Round 2, the Trinity Mock Trial team consisting of K. Kwok (12WH), W. Martin (12WH), J. Perera (12La), D. Wang (12La), D. Chuchra (12He) and W. Taplin (10WH) ultimately travelled to St. Maroun’s College with the task of protecting a defendant against a charge of “intention to defraud by false or misleading statement”. St. Maroun’s College had made the Top 8 (out of 90 schools) in the competition last year, and Trinity had a mammoth mountain to climb if the team were to record a win in their first trial.
With plentiful preparation in the days leading up to the trial – including thorough research onto the defendant’s possible schedule during his trip to Bali – the Trinity team flew out of the traps once the trial began. First barrister, Keith, peppered the prosecution with objections during their examination-in-chief, and despite a shaky start to cross-examination, finished strong by pressuring their first witness to concede two vital points fundamental to their case. Second barrister, Will, also came out on top in a back-and-forth objection tussle with the prosecution’s second barrister and was able to undermine their witnesses’ reliability with a sharp cross-examination. Our performances were clearly able to fluster the opposition, as they frequently took time to consult with one another. After a concise but impactful Opening Statement from first barrister, Keith, first witness, Josh, then provided a compelling act as the defendant, successfully circumventing a minor lapse in memory to complete a persuasive witness statement. Together with first barrister, Keith’s timely objections, Josh was able to stubbornly withhold the prosecution’s probing questions in cross-examination in a triumph that greatly boosted team morale. Second witness, Dylan, then eloquently delivered his witness statement with Will strongly refuting any objections from the prosecution team. Dylan was especially able to think quickly on his feet to extricate himself from a potentially tricky contradiction, even posing questions back to the prosecution barrister, and ended his cross-examination with an impressive impromptu delivery on his psychological expertise. Both second barristers on either team then provided their Closing Statements, with Will skillfully synthesizing the proceedings of the trial and utilizing case law to mount a strong case for the defendant. Throughout the trial, solicitor, Daksh, provided support to the two barristers by offering important ideas and identifying grounds for objections, as well as organising a solid copy of solicitors’ notes for the case. Court officer, Will Taplin, also ensured that the trial ran smoothly by maintaining order in the court. Special praise must be given to the entire team for their quick thinking and legal expertise, which manifested in the defendant being proclaimed not guilty. Given this, it was greatly relieving to see that Joshua was not guilty of financial fraud; but I advise everyone to take caution against any future fundraising requests for his daughter’s cancer treatments, especially if he posts about his holiday afterwards on Facebook.
Overall, the trial lasted about four hours, with Trinity recording a victory with a score of 227-205. We put it to you that this was an impressive all-round performance from the Mock Trial team, especially considering it the first ever competitive trial for all members. The team would like to thank our coaches, Mr. Bill Pratt and Mr. Adrian Shipp, for providing invaluable training over the past many months culminating in this success, as well as Ms. Shirley Chan for providing encouragement and support with us on the day of the trial. We would also like to particularly thank St. Maroun’s College for providing us with a welcoming experience as the host school, in addition to an exceptional performance in the trial. We look forward to meeting them in the latter stages of the competition and wish them all the best of luck in their Mock Trial season.
Despite the rousing win for the Trinity Mock Trial team, there is little time for us to rest on our laurels, with Round 3 on the horizon against Tempe High School. Continued success will require an exceptional work ethic and a growth mindset, and I am confident that the team will continue to put in our best effort and strive to match the high standards we set in our first round. While the exact date for the trial is unconfirmed, it will occur at Trinity at the end of May, and as such I encourage all Mock Trial team members, the Debating Society, parents and interested students to attend. With everyone’s support, the Trinity 2021 Mock Trial team is confident of going deep into the competition with another win.
K. Kwok | Barrister 1 and Vice Captain of Debating
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