Dr James MacKenzie, a forensic neuropathology consultant, spent Monday morning at Oundle working with the Academic Scholars from the Third to the Lower Sixth Forms, as well as aspiring medics from the Lower Sixth Form interested in the overlap between pathology and medicine. 

Following a compelling introductory lecture on serious head injuries, he brought his insights as an expert witness in criminal cases to an interactive workshop where pupils were led in groups through a real-life scenario of a murder trial, and were expected to deploy material from the lecture. 

Using deductive reasoning, the pupils were required to think logically, work out the next steps to take, and the right questions to ask, all the while wrestling with complex ethical questions, such as the point at which the victim is both medically and legally dead, and the ethics of organ donation. 

After each stage of the mock trial, the groups were invited to work together and present their findings. The pupils then fielded further questions from Dr MacKenzie, who cross-examined them, and suggested nuances that they might not have considered, but which were vital to the case. 

It was a challenging and thought-provoking morning, introducing pupils to how multiple disciplines overlap and collaborate in the work world.   

S Jessop