Dryden vs. Sioux Lookout Moot Court

A Moot Court Competition was run on Saturday April 14 at Dryden Court.  The event was run by the Kenora District Law Association, and was sponsored by Law Firms “Hook Seller & Lundin”, and “McAuley and Partners.”   The event was timed to coincide with the Ontario Bar Association “Law Day” celebrations.  Law Day is a week long event, designed to educate students and the public about the Justice System.

A Moot Court is a mock jury trial, run to help students develop skills in public speaking, legal knowledge and case presentation.  Two teams were involved.  The crown team was made up of Queen Elizabeth high school students Paige Wills and John Comhire.  The defense team was made up of Dryden high school students Jessie Penner and Ayla Student.

Each student plays the part of a “lawyer”, who has to give a statement, either the opening statement or closing statement, and had to conduct a direct examination and a cross-examination.  The trial was based on a fact pattern, which can be found at this link:  http://www.oba.org/en/pdf/SSMT_2012_Case_EN_Final.pdf

Students played all the roles involved including witnesses and jurors.

The Crown witnesses were played by Queen Elizabeth high school students Yassin Elsir and Jared Mercer. The Defense witnesses were played by Holly MacKay and Starlynn Cimon.

Jurors were played by Dryden High School Students Adam Notte, Ejon Fuerst, Jessica Lee, Janelle Hron Michaela Martin and Mandie Ryan, and by Queen Elizabeth High School students Geoffrey Hyslop, Heather Wobbe, Kristen Hoey and Jenna Wisnoski.

The Trial was presided over by Justice Jennifer Hoshizaki, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice.

A number of lawyers from the Kenora District Law Association volunteered, including Peter Keen, who organized the event. Karen Seeley coached the Dryden team, and Simon Owen, Mark Schaub and Mike McCarl, coached Sioux Lookout.  Susan Korzinski, Dryden and Sioux Lookout’s court service manager, made the Dryden Courthouse available, and acted as court clerk.

Teachers John MacRae from Queen Elizabeth and Cindy Palermo-Savage, from Dryden High, spent a great deal of time getting the students organized, and helping their teams prepare for the event.

When the trial was completed, the Jury found the accused guilty.

The winning team was selected by the Judge and two lawyers, Bill Bonham and Mark Schaub.  Justice Hoshizaki commented that the teams did an excellent job presenting their cases.  The best individual speakers were Queen Elizabeth students Paige Wills and John Comhaire.  Ultimately, however, the Dryden team took the trophy, winning the competition, as they did a better job linking the evidence to the facts of the case. Dryden High School will display the trophy for the coming year.

Peter Keen commented that “The students did remarkably well.  They obviously put a lot of time into preparing their cases, and looked and behaved like lawyers.  Their public speaking skills were excellent.”