PUPILS from Queen Elizabeth's Upper School in Crediton have claimed the winning trophy for their performance at the national final of the Bar Mock Trial at the Old Bailey in London.

A total of 171 schools from across the country entered this year's competition, with 16 finalists making it through to compete in front of the most senior judges from Scotland, Nothern Ireland and England.

The students had to undertake the roles of barristers, witnesses, court staff and jurors in two criminal cases. The barristers had to learn how to conduct examination-in-chief and cross examination. They were also expected to write opening and closing speeches and deliver these effectively.

Witnesses had to portray a credible character and maintain their version of events under probing cross-examination from the other side.

The judges and Citizenship Foundation staff were so impressed with Queen Elizabeth's pupils - who faced off against Northern Ireland school Dalriada - that they offered them a mini-pupillage this summer along with a £500 Hodder voucher for the college.

Maggie Bamber and Margaret Moran-Mylett, English teachers and Queen Elizabeth's mock trial team leaders, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with this team of students. They have never complained about the hours of practice nor the many drafts and re-drafts as we tried to hone each case.

“They have listened and learned from feedback at the Regional Heat and from the two visits we had from local barristers. At the Old Bailey they were consistently praised for the standard of their advocacy and their ability to think on their feet. They were simply fantastic and we are immensely proud of them all”.

The winning team consisted of Gareth Allen, Abigail Ballard, Isabel Boulter, Jamie Charlton, Jess Clifton, Julia Coryton, Alice Lomas, Georgina May, Josh Pike, Grace Robinson, and Freya Still.