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What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Mock Trial Competition set for June 13th

Grade 12 law students from five Rainbow secondary schools and a team from North Bay will take part in the Sudbury Regional Mock Trial Competition at the Sudbury Courthouse on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.

This year’s case will focus on an individual charged with “assault with a weapon causing death and thereby committing manslaughter,” contrary to s. 236 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Competition will begin at 8:30 am in Courtroom A, with an opening address by The Honourable Madam Justice Karen L. Lische, Regional Senior Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, and The Honourable Madam Justice K. Erin Cullin from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Trials in the preliminary round will begin at 9 am and 10:30 am. The championship trial begins at 12:30 pm. The Awards Ceremony will begin at 2:15 pm. The public is welcome to attend and photographs are permitted.

Close to 70 students from Rainbow District School Board and the Near North District School Board will compete for the Hennessy Cup – including Confederation Secondary School, Lasalle Secondary School, Lockerby Composite School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Sudbury Secondary School and Chippewa Secondary School. The Hennessy Cup is named after Madam Justice Patricia C. Hennessy, who led the Mock Trial Competition since its inception in 2001. Madam Justice Hennessy continues to support this important experiential learning opportunity for students.

The Hennessy Cup is part of the OJEN/OBA Competitive Mock Trials, a provincial program of the Ontario Bar Association and the Ontario Justice Education Network. The OBA and OJEN support competitions like the Hennessy Cup throughout the province. Teams competing in Sudbury use the same case scenario and format as other teams throughout Ontario.

The tournament is made possible with support from the Ontario Justice Education Network, Sudbury and District Law Association and local judges. This year, presiding Judges will be Regional Senior Justice Karen L. Lische, retired Ontario Court Justice Randall Lalande, Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Gary McMahon, and Deputy Small Claims Court Judge Lisa Barazzutti. Leading up to the event, 17 lawyers and articling students from the Greater Sudbury area, as well as three lawyers from North Bay, volunteered their time to assist and coach students as they prepared their cases. The local office of the Ministry of the Attorney General is also a strong supporter and accommodates the competition in the courthouse with both facilities and staff. To the extent possible, the students enjoy an authentic learning experience presenting their cases in actual courtrooms assisted by experienced court staff.

“The Mock Trial Competition provides high-level hands-on education, where theories learned in the classroom are tested in a real courtroom,” says Madam Justice Karen L. Lische. “Students are given the opportunity to integrate key concepts of the criminal justice system in Canada, such as the presumption of innocence and the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The skills they learn and develop during this process will serve them well in their years ahead.”

“The advocacy displayed by the students in the courtroom has been monitored and guided by volunteer members of the Sudbury District Law Association in a long-standing partnership, for which we are grateful,” says Justice K. Erin Cullin. “The schools and families of participating students should be proud of their efforts.”

Students will have the opportunity to participate in trials throughout the day with the top two performing teams participating in the Championship Trial. In addition to the Hennessy Cup, a number of other awards will be presented – Best Advocate Defense, Best Advocate Crown, Best Witness and the Civility Award for professionalism. Students on each team will determine the recipient of the team’s “Most Valuable Player” who exemplifies leadership excellence.

Rainbow District School Board Chair Bob Clement extends thanks to the many volunteer coaches from the Sudbury Crown Attorney’s Office and the Sudbury and District Law Association who, year after year, provide countless hours of their time to this project. “Through the competition, local lawyers make a critical contribution to student learning by bringing the classroom into the courtroom,” he says. “As a result, many students have been inspired to pursue studies in the legal field following secondary school.”

“We commend the legal community for their continued contribution to this project. They are exceptional role models for community service and student success,” says Director of Education Bruce Bourget. “We also applaud the Ontario Justice Education Network and the Ontario Bar Association for providing this exceptional learning opportunity for students.”

The Mock Trial Competition is well established within the Grade 12 Law curriculum. In addition to meeting curriculum expectations, mock trials develop other skills in students, including public speaking, teamwork, presentation, preparation and critical thinking skills.


Media Contact:

Dr. Tiffany Roberts, Curriculum Coordinator,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-523-3308, ext. 8209.