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High school students make a Court Discovery

Earlier this week 93 students and teachers from six Gold Coast schools enjoyed a unique day at Bond University in the Faculty of Law’s Moot Court.

The students from Banora Point High School, Benowa State High School, Tweed River High School, Queensland Academy, Aquinas College and Nerang State High School attended Court Discovery to gain valuable insight into a courtroom environment and proceedings, and the workings of the Australian Criminal Court System. All participants watched the mock trial unfold, with commentary and help from Course Convenor Libby Taylor to determine if the accused was innocent or guilty.

Clinical Associate Professor Libby Taylor has run Court Discovery twice this year, with the other successful session held in February, and is glad to continue running the popular event for high schools who may not have access to a court room otherwise. Libby is also glad to use current Bond Professional Legal Training (PLT) students in the mock trial so they are able to gain additional practical experience in the court room.

The three hour program consisted of:
- An overview of the Australian Criminal Court System
- Video incident briefing
- Aspects of a criminal mock trial – prosecution, defence, witness examination and cross examination, and verdict
- Morning or afternoon tea with the academics
- A tour of the Legal Skills Centre by current members of the Law Students Association

After hearing about the event through an email sent to the school, Mandy Bevan from Benowa State High School signed her students up to attend on Tuesday as the timing fitted with the curriculum being taught in the senior Legal Studies class.

“The students enjoyed learning the court process by actually seeing how it works. They felt they understood the roles of the court personal better. Those students that participated as jurors (although a little nervous) enjoyed being part of the process”, Mandy said.

Mandy has taken students to courts in Brisbane in the past but it took a lot of time and expense, was very hard to book a spot and could never be guaranteed what you would see.

By attending Court Discovery the high school students were also able to ask current law students about studying the law degree and university life at Bond during the faculty tour.

Mandy felt the three hour program was the perfect amount of time for students to sit still and is looking forward to returning with a different group of students next year.

The next Court Discovery event is likely to be held in February 2014.

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