Law 12 students achieve an SMS first at annual competition

On Saturday, April 22nd, the Law 12 class anxiously awaited the reveal of which side they would first represent – society or a taxi driver? This year’s Provincial Mock Trial Competition, held at the Victoria Courthouse, was a case of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and assault with a weapon (in this case the taxi). Thirteen teams from the island and lower mainland came to show their best legal skills in hopes of being crowned the top legal team. The team had been preparing for this competition since the end of February, when they received the case materials and had to build convincing cases to represent both sides.

The team represented the Crown in round one and Defence in round two. In both rounds they delivered their opening and closing statements eloquently, held witnesses accountable for what they did or did not see, presented evidence diligently, and took informed risks by objecting the opposing counsel during direct and cross examination. Our witnesses were instrumental in helping to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt for the Crown and raise possibility of doubt for the Defence. The girls worked incredibly hard under a tight time frame and, after two rounds, were elated when it was announced that they had made it to the semi-finals, along with three other teams – a first for an SMS team in this competition!

Congratulations to Alice Brown, Marina Bienenstock, Selina Liu, Vicky Qian, and Lucia Ren for demonstrating excellent critical thinking skills on the spot as our Crown and Defence team, as well as Yvette Lam, Lily Woodard, and Kinlis Ye for their excellent performances as witnesses. Kaitlyn Mingo and Peggy Sun joined us after their choir performance, and were able to step in to help the judge as Court Clerks in our semi-final round. Special mention goes to Lucia Ren, who was selected by the judges as the recipient of the top award for our team. As team coach, I had the pleasure of sitting on the edge of my seat during the nail-biting rounds. I truly wish that everyone had the chance to see these fantastic young women in action on Saturday as it was such an exceptional representation of everything we aim to instill in our girls here at SMS. My final verdict is that these young women are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of working as a team with absolute integrity, supporting one another wholeheartedly, having the courage to risk failure, and being upstanding ambassadors for St. Margaret’s School.

We look forward to continuing our quest for the coveted gavel next year. Thank you so much to everyone who was involved, either directly or indirectly, in making this an incredible experiential opportunity for our girls.

Here are some quotes from the participants:

“The BC Mock Trial Competition 2017 was absolutely fun and worth going to.  I worked hard with the whole team not only on Saturday but also during the process.  It is obvious to see that everyone improved a lot from the last mock trial. I believe that I was talking with more confidence and was clearer with my logic this time.  Also, I thought and reacted faster than last time.”
– Vicky Qian

“The judges we met the next day were great and professional. I especially liked the judge in the final round. She graduated from UBC Law School and had a solid reputation. When I was sitting there and listening to her final speech, I thought, ‘that’s the kind of woman I want to be in the future.’”
– Selina Liu

“I learned that as a lawyer, you have to adapt in various type of situations, really pay attention on the points from your opponents, and create last minute questions to either prove beyond the reasonable doubt or question beyond the reasonable doubt. From the judge, I realized being a judge you have to consider in lots of details. Especially from the judge’s comments, we can clearly see that the judge must consider different factors and perspectives to make the final judgement.”
– Peggy Sun

“I think my favorite moment was when at the end of our first trial, the judge told us that we had successfully proven the driver guilty for one of the charges. Although the driver was not guilty of both of the charges, it was a really good moment; it meant we had succeeded as lawyers in what we were trying to do, especially since the Crown case was particularly difficult, in comparison to the defense case.”
– Marina Bienenstock

“I really loved doing the closing statement the first time. I felt like I could easily glean information the closing statement of the defense as well as the rest of the trial to make a strong closing statement. I also really enjoy doing the cross examination of Kelly Steems, the witness was clearly prepared but it was fun to really try and get the answer I wanted out of her.”
– Alice Brown

“My favourite moment during the mock trial was watching both sides ask their cross-examination questions. It was really interesting to see how each person would have to think on their feet if they needed to reword a question if they weren’t getting the answer that they wanted.”
– Kaitlyn Mingo

“What I gained from Law Day was a sense of pride and camaraderie for and with our team. My favourite moment was the first round, before anyone said anything. The tension and desire to make our case its best helped to prompt an almost flawless performance.”
– Lily Woodard

“My favourite moment was when it was announced that our team was going to semifinals. It made me feel more confident in my abilities as a ‘lawyer,’ and also that pure excitement and nervousness of getting to compete in round three. I cannot even describe the feeling of being recognized for our achievements and knowing how lucky I am to be in such a great group.This competition has definitely brought everyone in the class closer. Everyone did their best for their parts and no one blamed anyone. It felt really nice to have a team that supported each other.”
– Lucia Ren

Submitted by Lisa Ziebart