Nomination surprise for mock trial mentor

21 Apr


The Bar National Mock Trial Competition is celebrating its silver jubilee, and for one member of Faculty, it has produced a golden moment.

The 25th staging of the final of the competition is this weekend at the Old Bailey in London, where Scotland will be represented by Mackie Academy of Stonehaven, winners of the Scottish heat for the last three years.

The Mackie students have been helped by Craig Findlater, Advocate, and the school nominated him for the award of Mentor of the Year in appreciation of all his efforts.

He did not win the title, but was delighted to have been nominated.

“It is a privilege, and a lot of fun, to be involved in the mock trial competition. The standard of advocacy shown by the school pupils is always very high, and they seem to enjoy getting practical experience of how our courts work,” said Mr Findlater, Treasurer of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association.

“Being nominated as Mentor of the Year was a very pleasant surprise. I wish to thank Mackie Academy for all the hard work they put in, the Citizenship Foundation for running such a worthwhile scheme, the Faculty of Advocates for supporting it, and of course (fellow advocate) Tony Lenehan for ‘volunteering’ me into the whole thing in the first place.”

The competition is organised by the Citizenship Foundation, which said of Mr Findlater’s nomination: “That you were nominated is a testament to the hard work and commitment you must have shown…Without people like you sacrificing your time, the Citizenship Foundation simply would not be able to run the competition.”

With help from volunteer legal professionals, students take on the roles of prosecutors, defence lawyers and witnesses in trials for drug possession and theft. The competition is sponsored by the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, the four Inns of Court and the local Bar Circuits. In Scotland, it is supported by the Faculty, and in Northern Ireland by the Bar Council of Northern Ireland.

Lady Rae has been involved with the competition for some years and she will be in London to help judge the final.

Kenneth Campbell, QC, the Faculty’s representative on the Bar National Mock Trial working party, said: “We are delighted to continue our close association with this competition. It gives young people a real sense of the many elements which make up the justice system which affects their lives as it does everyone’s. Craig Findlater’s nomination for Mentor of the Year is a tribute to the commitment of time and professional skills which he, in common with other colleagues, has given to the participants year in, year out.”