Seven students representing Marc Garneau competed in the annual OBA/OJEN Mock Trial on 20 April 2017. The event was held by the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN), and was sponsored by the Law Foundation of Ontario. MGCI’s competitive team, which was organized by the Don River Law Society (DRLS), consisted of Jessica Guo, Jessica Zhu, Rayyan Esmail, Emma Wai, Khari Thomas, Cheng Cheng Lin, and Ryan Lin.
Students convened at the Superior Court of Justice courthouse in downtown Toronto, where they argued for both the prosecution and defence in a predetermined fictional case by playing the roles of lawyers and witnesses. The trial roughly followed the procedure of real criminal court cases, including opening and closing statements, direct examinations, and cross-examinations. Marc Garneau’s mock trial team prepared extensively for the competition by reviewing the case and the testimonies of various witnesses. The team was supervised by Ms. Woodley, a law teacher at Garneau.
This year’s case involved an alleged collision between a biker and a taxi driver. Participants argued the innocence or guilt of the taxi driver, based on witnesses’ testimonies and simulated evidence. This was the second set of mock trials hosted in the tournament; the first set took place on 18 April. The two highest-scoring teams from each day moved on to the final round of the mock trial tournament. Unfortunately, the team from Marc Garneau did not move on to the final round.
Although the team did not advance, Khari Thomas, a member of the team and co-president of DRLS, believes that members can take a lot away from the tournament. When asked about how the team wants to improve, he stated, “Next year we might want to focus less on the arguments themselves, and more on how they’re presented to be more successful.” He added that the mock trial was ultimately a good learning experience, especially for members that were new to the proceedings of a criminal trial. “I’m very proud of the team, most of whom were in Grade 10 and participating in their first competition.”
Rayyan Esmail, another member of the team, agrees. “It was a really fun and educational way to get an experience of how the justice system works in the real world, extend what we’ve learned in the classroom, and get valuable advice and criticism from professionals. Our team put in a lot of hard work to prepare for the trial, and I think it paid off. I hope to be able to participate next year.”