ON THE same day that thousands of lawyers across the country walked out of court, pupils from eight Cirencester schools did exactly the opposite.

The annual Cirencester mock trials concluded on Friday, March 7 with Year 6 children from all over the town stepping in to the various roles of the judicial process.

Now in its ninth consecutive year, the mock trials saw pupils take over the Bingham Gallery and battle their case as either prosecutors or defendants.

Some of the roles played out by the students included magistrates, witnesses, court clerks, reporters and the court artist.

This year’s trial saw all pupils deal with fictional Cirencester teenager Darcy Grainger in the dock accused with the theft of an iPad mini from her close friend Robin Burrows.

Denys Young, chairman of the Gloucestershire bench of magistrates, said that the exercise was more than just a fun morning out.

“This is hugely important for the all children. It is fundamental to their understanding of their citizenship education,” he said.

Pupils really entered into the courtroom spirit, with many opting to ditch their everyday school uniforms in favour of smart suits and ties.

The proceedings, which proved hugely popular with mums and dads, were made even more authentic by the presence of real magistrates and police officers from Cirencester Police Station.

Mr Young said: “As magistrates, we are all really committed to this. We really love taking part. This year’s standard was excellent, I really do think it improves with every year we do it.”

All of the trials were watched over by distinguished guests such as Hugh Tollemache, High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, who said the event was “a wonderful thing for the community to share”.

The school’s taking part in this year’s competition were Cold Aston, Powell’s, Watermoor, Coberley, Southrop, Stratton, Chesterton and Hatherop.