Rainbow Schools Capture Gold and Silver at 2018 Mock Trial Competition
Sudbury Secondary High School Mock Trial

Sudbury Secondary School’s Mock Trial team celebrate their victory with the Hennessy Cup. From left, Deliah-Hope Law, Jessica Sawyer, Emme Dalle Vedove, Michele Cyrenne, Casandra Dufour, Ryan Fisher, Portia Jonasson and Gabriel Taylor.

Rainbow District School Board secondary school students showcased their analytical and critical thinking skills at the 18th 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 11, 2018 at the Sudbury Court House.

Close to 100 Grade 12 students from Rainbow District School Board and Sudbury Catholic District School Board donned legal gowns to prosecute and defend the case of an individual  charged with assault causing injuries that resulted in the death of another person, contrary to s. 236 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

The Hennessy Cup was awarded to the team from Sudbury Secondary School, including Deliah-Hope Law, Jessica Sawyer, Emme Dalle Vedove, Michele Cyrenne, Casandra Dufour, Ryan Fisher, Portia Jonasson and Gabriel Taylor.

Confederation High School Mock Trial

Confederation Secondary School’s Mock Trial team received the silver medal. Team members include, from left, Emma Oldford, Lauren Knox, Alannah Lawson, Brady Coufal, Jack Ainsworth and Ian Morris.

Silver medals were presented to students from Confederation Secondary School, including Alannah Lawson, Jack Ainsworth, Emma Oldford, Brady Coufal, Lauren Knox and Ian Morris.

Students from Confederation Secondary School, Espanola High School, Lasalle Secondary School, Lockerby Composite School, Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Marymount Academy, Sudbury Secondary School, St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, 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 18 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 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, 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.

Conroy Award Mock Trial

The Edward J. Conroy, Q.C. Team Civility award was presented to Lasalle Secondary School’s Mock Trial team including, from left, Zachary T. Courtemanche of Weaver Simmons LLP, Tiana Mutswairo, Jakob Murray, Afnene Bouhedda, Siana Malette, presenter Michael Mcnamara of Conroy, Scott LLP., Isabelle Paquette, Laura Woodcock and Dhiren Chohan of Weaver Simmons LLP.

“The students participating in the Mock Trials put in a lot of effort,” says Madam Justice Karen Lische. “They are focused and prepared for their trial, thanks to the mentoring and coaching by numerous local lawyers who donate their valuable time for this event. By the end of the event, they will have raised their confidence levels and their advocacy skills. They practice what they have been learning in a real courtroom in front of a real judge. The skills they learn and practice during the mock trial process will assist them in years to come, no matter the career they choose.”

She adds: “One of the cornerstones of our Canadian Criminal Justice System is the presumption of innocence. The standard to prove all of the essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt is a high one. Regardless of the outcome, guilty or not guilty, the students will have a rare opportunity to gain skills that will serve them well in the future.”

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.

At one point Junction Creek ran through downtown, giving Sudbury the name "Venice of the North".

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