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Passions were high as schools battled it out at the annual Gepp and Sons Schools Legal Debate

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Sixth form students from, Anglo European School, Brentwood School, Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School, Felsted School, Great Baddow High School, King Edward VI Grammar School, New Hall School and William De Ferrers School debated on the emotive subject, "This house believes that defendants of sexual crimes should be afforded anonymity"…

Master of ceremonies, BBC's very own Dave Monk D.L. kept law and order as passionate arguments were made both for and against the motion.

The students were under the watchful eye of the evening's distinguished judges, Lord Justice Burnett, His Honour Judge Ball QC, His Honour Judge Gratwicke, His Honour Judge Lodge, Her Honour Judge Murfitt and Ms J Spratt-Dawson.

Guest speaker Stephen Kavanagh, Chief Constable of Essex Police enlightened students and fellow guests that following the witnessing of an armed robbery when younger, had sparked his desire to join the police force and serve the community. Following the Chief Constable was Samuel Lees, Trainee Solicitor at Gepp & Sons. Sam revealed with passion the many varied aspects of being a trainee solicitor.

Towards the climax of the evening for the two finalist schools were chosen from the eight competitors. Newhall School and King Edward VI Grammar School were pitched head to head in the final round which took place in the form of a plea in mitigation of an offender who had pleaded guilty to a serious offence. Two students from both schools pleaded their client's case to the panel of judges in order to reduce any potential sentence. 

The students were kept on their toes when Lord Justice Burnett fired leading questions during their plea. Whilst tension was high, all four students kept their cool and did their client 'justice'.  

After much deliberation and by the smallest of margins Lord Justice Burnett announced the winners of the "Gepp & Sons Schools Legal Debate 2014" as King Edward VI Grammar School.

Whilst KEGs took the prize of best school, there were two further converted awards for best debating students of the night. These awards went to Courtney Sanders of New Hall School and Greg Humphries of Brentwood School.

Rounding off the evening, Gepp & Sons Senior Partner Jonathan Douglas-Hughes D.L OBE said, " the partners of Gepp & Sons are proud to bring together so many of Essex's finest young talent at this our sixth schools legal debate". "Mastering the art of debating will stand all students in good sted and will help prepare them for whatever lies ahead".

Further information on this year's event can be obtained from debate@gepp.co.uk