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Rainbow Schools capture Gold and Silver at 2017 Mock Trial Competition
Rainbow District School Board secondary school students showcased their analytical and critical thinking skills at the 17th annual Mock Trial Competition where they garnered both gold and silver medals and captured a number of individual awards. The Mock Trial Competition was held on Friday, May 12, 2017 at the Sudbury Court House.
Close to 70 Grade 12 students from Rainbow District School Board and Sudbury Catholic District School Board donned legal gowns to prosecute and defend the case of a taxi cab driver charged with operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public, causing bodily harm to another person.
The Hennessy Cup was awarded to the team from Lockerby Composite School, including Brandon Martel, Rudi Smith, Katherine Caddel, Tyler Lett, Ava Toppazzini, Emilee Giguere, Nick Cacciotti and Selena Lefebvre.
Silver medals were presented to students from Confederation Secondary School, including Kayla Bryon, Austin Little, Julia Nolan, Paul Au-Yeung, Hannah LeBlanc and Alex Gervais-Leduc.
Students from Confederation Secondary School, Lasalle Secondary School, Lockerby Composite School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Sudbury Secondary School, St. Benedict’s, and St. Charles College competed for the Hennessy Cup. The top honour is named after Madame Justice Patricia C. Hennessy, Mock Trial Project Lead since the Mock Trial’s inception 17 years ago.
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 mock trial competitions like the Hennessy Cup throughout the province. The teams that competed in Sudbury used the same case scenario and format as about 100 teams throughout Ontario.
The tournament was made possible with support from the Sudbury and District Law Association and local judges. This year, 14 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 was also a strong supporter and accommodated the competition in the courthouse. To the extent possible, the students enjoyed an authentic learning experience presenting their cases in actual courtrooms assisted by experienced court staff.
“The schools and families of the participating students can be very proud of their efforts,” said Madame Justice Patricia C. Hennessy. “They were engaged in experiential learning at a very high level, enhancing the theory presented to them in their classrooms.”
She added: “During the trials, the benefits of this exercise were obvious. Students showed how they have integrated and learned the key concepts of the criminal justice system in Canada. Their preparation and advocacy in the courtroom was monitored and guided by volunteer members of the Sudbury District Law Association in a long-standing partnership. The Mock Trial exercise allowed students to work closely with key concepts of the trial process and to see how these concepts in practice would affect a real life situation.”
Students participated 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 were presented – Best Advocate Defense, Best Advocate Crown, Best Witness and the Civility Award for professionalism. Students on each team determined the recipient of the team’s “Most Valuable Player” who exemplified leadership excellence.
Rainbow District School Board Chair, Doreen Dewar, thanked 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 said. “Many students have been inspired to pursue studies in the legal field after secondary school.”
She added: “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.
“The students are faced with the difficult task of proving a criminal offense beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Madame Justice Patricia C. Hennessy. “To succeed, they must understand how to best present the evidence and to argue their positions.”
She added: “Win or lose, they learn how difficult the job of proving a case can be and how the court grapples with different types of evidence. These are important concepts in a democracy. At the end of the day, these students, our future community leaders, will learn lessons they will never forget, develop skills they will always use, and build confidence that will stand them in good stead no matter what they do or where they go.”
Tiffany Roberts, Curriculum Co-ordinator,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-523-3308, ext. 8209.