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From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Mock Trial Competition takes place May 10th

Grade 12 law students from six local secondary schools will take part in the Sudbury Regional Mock Trial Competition at the Sudbury Courthouse on Friday, May 10, 2019.

This year’s case focuses on an individual charged with “the failure to provide the neccessaries of life to a child under the age of sixteen years and the failure to facilitate timely medical attention for injuries sustained,” contrary to s. 215 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 from the Ontario Court of Justice, The Honourable Mr. Justice Patrick Boucher from the Ontario Court of Justice, and Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Lauren Scully. 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 80 students from Rainbow District School Board and the Sudbury Catholic District School Board will compete for the Hennessy Cup, including Espanola High School, Lasalle Secondary School, Lockerby Composite School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Sudbury Secondary School and St. Charles College. The Hennessy Cup is named after Madame Justice Patricia C. Hennessy, who was the Mock Trial Project Lead for 17 years, and 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. The teams competing in Sudbury use the same case scenario and format as about 100 teams throughout Ontario.

The tournament is made possible with support from the Sudbury and District Law Association and local judges. This year, over 20 lawyers and articling students from the Greater Sudbury area 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. 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 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 the years ahead.”

She adds: “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. 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, Doreen Dewar, thanks the volunteer coaches from the Sudbury and District Law Association and the Sudbury Crown Attorney’s Office who, year after year, provide hundreds of hours of time to this project. “Through the Mock Trial Competition, local lawyers make an invaluable contribution to student learning by bringing the classroom into the courtroom,” she says. “Many students have been inspired to pursue studies in the legal field after secondary school.”

She adds: “We commend the legal community for their continued contribution to this project. They are exceptional role models for community service and student success. We also applaud the Ontario Bar Association and the Ontario Justice Education Network for making this opportunity possible for students across Ontario.”

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.

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171, ext. 7217.