ALLOA SHERIFF COURT was transformed into a classroom last week as senior pupils staged a mock trial with the help of the seasoned professionals.

Students from Alloa Academy and Lornshill Academy all played their parts in a scripted case, with the youngsters enacting each and every role from the sheriff, the lawyers, the clerk and the jury.

There was even an accused standing trial, guarded by able “G4S” marshals, with a court officer helping the proceedings to go smoothly and court reporters taking down notes.

The event was organised by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service with support from the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service and other volunteers.

A detailed script was given to the pupils in advance, although there were a few surprises for them on the day to force them to think on their feet while performing.

Sheriff David Mackie and solicitor Kelly Howe were on hand to guide their actors on how best to play their part. 

It’s the first time in a number of years that the court has held the mock trials, and it is hoped that the pupils can be taught what really happens in a courtroom rather than what they see in television programmes.

The experience was opened up to senior modern studies pupils and there was no shortage of volunteers for every role – especially the leads.

Miss Walker, head of the social subjects’ faculty at Alloa Academy, said: “It is just great to have the kids out doing something different. It’s good for kids that might pursue a career in law or one of the associated careers such as social work or journalism for example.

“But it’s also great for building confidence and to mix with people from other schools.

“Everyone has done remarkably well. It is hard to stand up in front of your peers and speak but they have done so well.”

Sheriff David Mackie said he was delighted that the mock trials had been brought back.

He said: “I am really pleased to have it back this year. It is something which is fantastic for any young people to do

“ I think anything we can do to let people know where the court is and what happens there is well worth doing.

“It is an important part of the community. Some people only know what they read in the paper.

“I don’t think people realise it’s a public place where they can pop in and see what happens.”

David Graham, sheriff clerk in Alloa, added: “The mini trial day was a terrific exercise and gave students the opportunity to witness first-hand the day-to-day business of their local court.

“It was encouraging to see so many taking an interest and learning about the various roles carried out in the court.

“Thanks again to all those who gave up their time to help out and to all those who took part.”