The activities could be undertaken as part of the Black History celebration

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Mock trials of the freedom fighters.
These series of activities provide pupils with great opportunities to carry out extensive research of a topic of interest.
During the activities they read and write for a real purpose
They plan and manage a group task over time using different levels of planning
They take part in speaking and listening activities and in role play
They work as part of various groups e.g. as individual, in pairs, in small groups, class and whole school.
They work to a deadline
They learn about various jobs in the justice department

  1. Press release of pending case

  2. Court proceeding steps

  3. Court hearing rules

  4. Court room vocabulary

  5. Sample court notes – Mock trial

The activities could be undertaken as part of the Black History celebration

The daily Echo

Sensational news story!
History overturned?

The trial of the freedom fighters, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela is set to go ahead amidst strong opposition from high government quarters.

The Daily Echo has learnt that defence lawyers are preparing to overturn history when they move to acquit the defendants of all charges levied against them by the state in an unprecedented legal move.
The freedom fighters were accused of offences against the government and state but a defence lawyer in the case had this to say ‘It is absurd that people cannot fight for their rights in the democratic world we live in today’.
The key question now is will the lawyers be able to overturn history and get the defendants acquitted and discharged on all counts? The defence team claim to have hundreds of witnesses lined up.
The trials begin next week at The ABC Supreme Court.

Mock Trial of the Freedom Fighters
Turn your school hall or classroom into a court room for the day.
The aim is to provide pupils with an experience of the justice system.

Display the news paper article above around the school one week before the mock trial day to attract students’ interests.

On the morning of the trial, hold a whole school or class assembly and discuss the news article, the general aims and order of events for the day.
Allocate a name to each class or groups to research (you could use other freedom fighters or persons, you are currently studying).
Each class or group to research their freedom fighter’s biography and other information and prepare defence notes on why this person is innocent and should be acquitted and discharged of all the charges against them.
Each class should select their defence team to present their case. Good idea to practice this first in class before whole school presentation.
Select a prosecution counsel or counsels to present the case for the state.
Before the trial begins chose three children to act in role of each freedom fighter, they have to answer questions put to them by the judge or counsels.
Also select a judge to conduct the whole trial (preferably an adult, could be the teacher).
You must also select twelve jury members to listen to the case (a selection of pupils from each year group).
Appoint a stenographer to take notes on the proceedings (could be a Teaching Assistant).
Arrange your school hall to look like a court room.

  • A table for the judge in the middle of the hall

  • A witness stand to the left,

  • Jurors seats to the right of the judge’s table

  • Stenographer sits in front of the judge

  • Prosecution and defence counsels sit directly in front the stenographer facing the judge

  • Public gallery seats at the back of the hall.

Conduct the trial as set out below.
After presentations from both sides, the prosecution and defence counsels must sum up their cases appealing to the jury for a favourable outcome.
The judge must remind members of the jury to consider if the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt before finalising their verdict.
The judge must remind the jurors of number of votes needed to discharge or convict the accused. This is usually all twelve jurors and in exceptional cases a majority vote of 10 out of 12 is acceptable either way.
The jurors must report back on their verdict of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’
The judge must then discharge the jurors.
The judge then discharge or sentence the accused.
The case is now closed or adjourned to a future date.

Public Speaking & Debates.

Each trial team to present their case to jury members, who must discuss all the evidence and vote on ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not guilty’ verdict
Mock Court hearing : Rules

  • The judge must introduce each accused in turn

  • The judge must invite the prosecution counsel to present their case to the members of the jury.

  • The judge must invite the defence counsel to present their case to the members of the jury.

  • No one must interrupt the proceedings or face contempt of court.

  • All questions must be directed to the judge via the court usher

  • The judge must clarify any misunderstandings

  • The jurors must be invited to discuss all the evidence presented and agree on a verdict at the end of the summation from both sides

  • The judge must invite the jurors to declare their finding using the words’ ‘Members of the jury, how do you find the defendant guilty of not guilty?’

  • Only a jury member (the representative) must report back

  • The defendant must be declared ‘Guilty’ or ‘Not guilty’

  • The judge must close the proceedings.














Witness stand



Case notes

Swear an oath






Your Honour



Public gallery



Contempt of court


Incriminating evidence


Sample mock trial notes

(Legal team names are entirely fictitious)
In the Supreme Court of Justice

ABC School
Date: 10th November 2007 Court room number 3
Judge: Hon. Patrick Ejoor

Presiding Officer: John Smith QC

Usher: Ms Lora James

Prosecuting Counsel acting on behalf of the State:

Barrister Fredrick James Esq.


Paige in Role as Rosa Parks: African – American female

Defence Team: Year 6

Lawrence Spells in role as Dr Martin Luther King: African American – Male

Defence Team Year 5

Harry Hannat in role as Nelson Mandela: African male

Defence Team: Year 4
Case 1
The State vs. Rosa Parks
On behalf of the state of Alabama, United States of America, you Mrs Rosa Parks has been charged with the following offences for which you must now stand trial in front of a jury; the charges are as follows:

  1. Committing a public disorderly conduct at around 6pm on Thursday 1st December 1955; when you refused to carry out instructions of a public Officer James Blake to move to a ‘colored’ section of the bus

  2. Violation of Chapter 6, section 11 segregation law of the Montgomery City code

Verdict: Not guilty. Acquitted and discharged

Ruling: The state to pay back $10.00 fine levied against Mrs Parks plus $4 in court costs.
Case 2
The State vs. Dr Martin Luther King
On behalf of the state of Alabama, United States of America, you Dr Martin Luther King has been charges with the following offences for which you must now stand trial in front of a jury:

The charges read as follows:

  1. Inciting people to demonstrate against the state by making an inflammatory speech of ‘I have a dream’. This is a treasonable offence under section 4 of the civil disobedience act of 1203.

  2. on several occasions, organizing public meetings illegally without the consent of the state authorities in violation of section 9 of the public places meetings act of 1606

  3. organizing and leading other civil rights activists in mass demonstrations against the state leading to wide spread civil disobedience and violation of state security

Verdict: Not guilt. Acquitted and discharged

Ruling: The state must as a matter of urgency take steps to implement the following actions

  1. All blacks' must be given a right to vote,

  2. The segregation, act established by the Jim Crow laws of 1876 must be abolished

  3. All labor rights and other basic civil rights must be implemented for all blacks

  4. Civil Rights Act of 1964 must be passed

  5. Voting Rights Act of 1965.must be passed

  6. All the above recommendations must be enacted into United States laws Statute

Case 3
The State vs. Nelson Mandela
On behalf of the State, you Nelson Mandela has been charged with the following offences for which you must now stand trial in front of a jury; the charges are as follows:

  1. That you are one of the people who formed a group known as Umkhonto we Sizwe with a subversive motive to sabotage and overthrow the Government of the Republic of South Africa.

  2. you organised a strike action without permission from the state inciting people to go on a rampage destroying government properties and disrupting government functions

  3. Leaving the country illegally.

Verdict: Not guilty Acquitted and discharged


Nelson Mandela is to be awarded an undisclosed amount for loss of earnings, disruption to family life and injustice suffered for 30 years as a result of his imprisonment on Robin Island. The counsels are to discuss and agree this sum behind close doors in the presence of Her Honour Chief Justice Elizabeth Aigbogu

These courts note were prepared by Her Majesty’s Counsel Barrister Fredrick James Esq. on this day of our lord 10th November 2007
Case Notes to be filed in the Supreme Court of Justice ABC School
Mock Trial of the Freedom Fighters
Evaluation of day’s activities
Which part of the day did you like the most? Why?
Which part of the day, did you not like or thought was difficult? Why?
Do you believe that all laws and rules must or should be followed? Explain your reasons
Are you satisfied with the verdicts? Why?
What do you think should be done with freedom fighters? Why?
What about others who break the law, for other reasons? Why?
Is it always possible for members of the jury to be objective and impartial? Explain your answer.
Which job do you think is the best or most interesting in the justice department? Why?
Which of these jobs would you like to do in the future? Why?

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