MORE than 100 Sixth Form and Year 11 students at Ysgol Brynhyfryd in Ruthin experienced what it is like to be in court.

The mock trial that took place in the school’s main hall was sponsored by play equipment provider Kompan.

Aside from showing how a court case operates and the roles open to pupils interested in studying and working in the legal system, the key purpose of the event was raising awareness about the need to drive safely among young people and the dangers of driving recklessly.

In 2022, 34 fatalities occurred on the roads of North Wales, with eight being drivers aged 16-25.

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The event was organised by local Ruthin resident, and Deputy Chair of the North Wales Police and Crime Panel, Pat Astbury and the script of the ‘trial’ was put together by Jean Williams, who has many years’ experience of advising magistrates when cases come to court.

Jo Alkir, whose daughter Olivia was a pupil at Ysgol Brynhyfryd and died in a car accident in June 2019 near Ruthin, was present to stress the importance of driving safely to the young people so tragedies like Olivia’s can be avoided.

She urged them to "be the person who gets someone home safely, rather than the person who speeds".

This point was stressed by James Davies, MP for the Vale of Clwyd, who said: "It’s never too early to understand the importance of road safety."

The trial story involved a fictional car crash that had taken place at Nant-y-Garth outside Ruthin. The collision involved a car which overtook one vehicle and crashed into another.

Each ‘driver’ involved in the crash appeared as a witness.

The key parts in the mock trial, such as witness, prosecutor, defence lawyer, defendant, and magistrates were all played by Ysgol Brynhyfryd students.

They were supported by Alun Humphreys of the Crown Prosecution Service, former magistrate Richard Welch, officers of North Wales Police and Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Wayne Jones.

After hearing the testimony, the panel of students playing magistrates retired to consider a verdict, which was then read out to the court of fellow students.

There was a discussion about the case and punishment, as well as talks on how other criminal cases are brought to trial. The Deputy PCC gave a concluding speech to students on the importance of driving safely and his experiences during his career as a police officer.

Wayne Jones, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, said: “Events like today’s Mock Trial are vital in spreading the message of road safety in a way that’s both interactive and easy to understand, so that we can keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians out of harm’s way. My thanks go to Pat Astbury and everyone at Ysgol Brynhyfryd for organising the day and for taking part.”

Mr Bedwyn Phillips, Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Ysgol Brynhyfryd, added: “It’s really great to have welcomed everyone here today to take us through the Court proceedings in a ‘trial’ regarding driving safely.

"It’s very powerful to have also discussed this openly in a forum with Olivia Alkir’s mother. It has also been an important way of expanding career possibilities for our students, so they can discuss with professionals what they want to do for a job and how they can get there. Witnessing first-hand how a court works also encourages a really active way of learning.”