The verdict is out – Potchefstroom students victorious in mock trials
A team of third-year students from the Faculty of Law on the Potchefstroom Campus has secured a second consecutive win for third-years of the campus in the successful and popular annual NWU Juta Mock Trial competition.
Ms Michell Brits, Mr Christoff Kalp, Ms Marijke van Jaarsveld and Ms Johandri Wright showed their mettle while representing the defence in a common assault case in the finals of the trials, held on the Potchefstroom Campus.
They reigned victorious over the third-year NWU team that consisted of members of all three campuses of the NWU. The NWU team argued for the State and was represented by Mr Sergio dos Santos, Ms Asma Haffejee, Ms Thando Kunene and Mr Davin Olën.
Justice Monica Leeuw, Judge President of the North-West High Court, presided over the court proceedings. She found that the team representing the State could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an alleged altercation between a husband and wife did in fact lead to assault and thus found in favour of the defence. Advocate Mark Adams presided over the semi-finals the day before.
As in previous years, this year’s mock trials were immensely popular. More than 150 students participated and teams from all three of the NWU’s campuses competed for the honours. The event was also attended by various distinguished guests from the legal fraternity. Guests included the Chief Magistrate of North West, the Acting Senior Magistrate, Head of Judiciary Potchefstroom, several Magistrates and the Chief State Prosecutor, as well as Senior Prosecutors from the region.
The Juta Mock Trial Competition is the product of the vision of Advocate René Koraan, lecturer at the Faculty of Law on the Potchefstroom Campus. She saw it as an opportunity for second and third-year students to gain much-needed experience: “The mock trials help prepare them for their careers and inform them how to apply the law in practice.” She thanked all role-players for their involvement and for keeping the competition alive.
Prof Martin Oosthuizen, deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at the NWU, said the NWU Juta Mock Trial competition is one that showcases the abilities, talents and commitment of the NWU’s law students. “It is a real testimony to the dedication of the NWU’s students and the staff of the faculties of Law,” he said.
“Furthermore, at the NWU one of the things that we do and strive to do more is to help our students to be able to relate theory to practice. They must be able to take what they learn in the lecture rooms and get a taste of what it means to apply it to real-life situations and contexts. How students will conduct themselves as professionals will have a profound impact on members of society.” He said in this regard the NWU Juta Mock Trials has established itself over the past four years as a premier event of the Faculty of Law.
Members of the two teams that participated in the 2016 NWU Juta Mock Trials competition are at the back Ms Marijke van Jaarsveld, Ms Johandri Wright, Mr Christoff Kalp, Ms Michell Brits. Ms Thando Kunene, Mr Davin Olën, Mr Sergio dos Santos and Ms Asma Haffejee; with them are Prof Nicola Smit, dean of the Faculty of Law on the Potchefstroom Campus, Justice Monica Leeuw, Judge President of the North-West High Court, and Adv René Koraan, lecturer at the Faculty of Law.