THE alleged theft of an iPhone was the case heard at this year’s Stroud district mock trials competition.

Every year scores of primary school children are introduced to the legal system at the contest which is held at the Novalis Trust’s Ebley House, where a room is transformed into a realistic magistrates’ court.

This year, the bench had to decide whether an imaginary defendant called Charlie Foster was guilty of stealing an iPhone from a friend called Leo Williams.

Pupils took on the roles of lawyers, witnesses, magistrates and court staff from Wednesday to Friday.

Proceeding were written up by pupils acting as reporters while others sketched images.

Real magistrates follow a scoring system to decide which team wins.

The aim is to help pupils understand the legal system and gain skills such as self-confidence, team work, public speaking and developing arguments.

The Magistrates’ Association has been organising the Stroud Primary Schools Mock Trial Competition since 2000 and during that time more than 5,000 pupils have taken part.

Standards are always extremely high and last year Chalford Hill Primary School took first place winning the Malcolm Reynolds JP Shield.

There are also three individual prizes - a book token donated by the SNJ for the best court reporter, an artist’s set for the court artist sponsored by David Drew MP and the Tony Howarth Shield in memory of the founder of the event which goes to one outstanding pupil.