THE whole of Chard can stand in the docks and be tried for imaginary crimes as part of the town’s summer festival this weekend.

The mock assizes, which are modelled off the old English magistrates system, will see Chard’s court rooms opened to the public for the day.

The event will take place in the court rooms between 10am and noon on August 31.

Cllr Jenny Kenton, of the Chard Town Team, said: “Organised by Sara Dowell who will ‘prosecute’ members of the public for real crimes and real punishments.

“The ‘accused’ can say something in their defence, and the Mayor will give his judgement.

The get out of jail free card is if they can read they can claim the ‘benefit of the clergy’ which was used to avoid capital punishment.

“The court usher will be mace bearer Clive Saunders and the clergy will be the ex-chaplain Cresswell Whitton.

“Members of the public pick a crime from a box and that will be the crime they will be tried for.”

The mock assizes are just part of the weekend’s activities, which also includes a young town crier competition, being held on the steps near Sainsbury’s at noon on Saturday.

On Saturday evening there will be live music and stalls from 6pm.

Fun things on show include a rodeo bull, assault course, and bouncy slide, before the annual lighting of the Chard Beacon.

On Sunday, Jocelyn Park will also host a charity stall event with live music.

At noon on Sunday, the crowning of Chard’s new carnival royalty will take place.

Through the afternoon there will be performances from Chard Evolution Majorettes, Danny and The Beard, Joseph Uke, Chloe Smith, Kelly Leigh School of Dance, and The Reverent.

There will be more than 40 stalls, and lots of entertainment.