Gallery: Youngsters take step back in time for mock trials

YOUNGSTERS saw some rough justice being handed out by magistrates at Wisbech on Monday when they were transported back more than 100 years. The mock trials were to show primary school pupils how differently they would have been treated before 1909 and the

YOUNGSTERS saw some rough justice being handed out by magistrates at Wisbech on Monday when they were transported back more than 100 years.

The mock trials were to show primary school pupils how differently they would have been treated before 1909 and the introduction of the Children Act compared with the present day.

Year Six pupils from Elm Road Primary School, Emneth Primary School, Peckover School and Wisbech Grammar School went along to two mock trials heard by real magistrates, some dressed in the style of 100 years ago.

Throughout the day the youngsters had to make notes and will be writing newspaper style reports about their experiences.


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Class teacher Melanie Martin of Elm Road School said her pupils had found the experience very interesting.

The trial showed how a youngster accused of stealing a piece of meat from a shop was treated before 1909 and then in 2009. She said: "Prior to the Act there was no distinction between the way adults and children were treated. The child's mother was treated with disdain and the child had no representation. The child was sentenced to two years hard labour.

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"In the modern day trial the previous good character of the child was taken into consideration and also the fact that the family had been having a lot of expense and the child thought it was helping by stealing the meat. There was no prison sentence."

Mrs Martin said while the children enjoyed the experience some of them had been slightly frightened by the formality of the proceedings.

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