Law Day 2019 – Mock Trial

On April 14, 2019, students of the Law40S course participated in a mock trial as part of Law Day. Law classes from across the province were invited to apply to the Law Society of Manitoba, in order to be selected to participate in the mock trial activity. Our class was chosen and assigned the case of R. v. Delaney, a criminal trial involving the issue of did a parent fail to provide the necessaries of life to her child? Prior to trial, Ms. Sandra Bracken and Mr. Louis Mendelson, both defence lawyers in Winnipeg with Legal Aid, came to our class on four separate occasions to help educate the students about trial procedures and strategies in preparation for the case. Ms. Bracken, Mr. Mendelson and Mr. Schrofel, guided students in preparing both the Crown and Defence for trial. All students in the class participated in the many planning sessions leading up to trial. On Sunday, April 14, the students reported to the Law Courts building to take part in the mock trial. Students who volunteered as lawyers and the Court Clerk were fitted with robes and then proceeded to Courtroom 223 in the Law Courts building. Once the trial began, in front of a judge, the Crown Prosecutors read their opening statements, called their witnesses and presented evidence; the Defence then cross-examined these same witnesses. After the Crown rested, the Defence read their opening statement, called their witnesses and presented evidence; the Crown was given the chance to cross-exam these witnesses. Both sides then presented their final arguments to the judge. In the end, Ms. Delaney was not guilty of the charge of failure to provide the necessaries of life to her son. While the judge did say that her actions were questionable, the key legal issue was were the actions a marked departure from the actions of a reasonable parent? In the end, Madame Justice found that they were not, thus, the not guilty verdict. Overall, the experience was an excellent one. Prior to trial, students had the chance to learn about and experience preparing for a trial, while on the day of the trial, students were able to experience first-hand the pressure and stress of a trial, as well as the exciting aspects of trying to prove a case or defend a client. This experience is one students will remember for a long time!

 

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