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Media Release - March 8, 2005

Courtroom Brings Law to Life in Classroom

BRANTFORD, ON—March 8, 2005: This morning, all rose to hear the case for higher education as Ontario Superior Court Justice Madame Justice Milanetti presided over a new courtroom in the City of Brantford. As part of the opening ceremonies of Mohawk College’s Public Safety & Security Educational Summit, Madame Justice Milanetti officially opened the only operational, educational courtroom in the Ontario community college system at the Brantford Campus of Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology.

Mohawk College President MaryLynn West-Moynes affirms, “Much like a lab, the courtroom simulates the on-the-job experience, and is another example of the college’s commitment to student success. The Public Safety & Security program is a Centre of Excellence at the college and the demand for Mohawk College graduates will be even higher thanks to the initiative in experiential learning we see here today.”

“The courtroom creates the kind of atmosphere future law enforcement professionals will face,” added Executive Dean of Brantford Campus, Douglas Baker.

Linda Whetter, a retired police officer and Law and Security instructor explains how the courtroom will be used: “After achieving a theoretical appreciation for the law and legal procedure, students of courses such as ‘Introduction to the Canadian Criminal Justice System’ enter into a practicum in which they are each required to assume roles—from judge, jury, witness, members of the defence and crown attorney teams, investigating officers, the accused and spectators.”

Students are expected to follow correct procedure in every detail, from preparing a notebook documenting the criminal allegation, statements of the accused and witnesses, serving subpoenas, providing disclosure, entering evidence, preparing prosecution and defence witnesses and presenting their case. The judge is responsible for ensuring all protocols are met and holds those who fail to meet their obligations in ‘contempt.’ Jurors are expected to make notes and justify their decision as to the ‘guilt’ or ‘innocence’ of the ‘accused.’”

The mock trial process, particularly in the real surroundings of this courtroom, provides students with an opportunity to experience the often challenging atmosphere of the courtroom, intended to better equip them to meet the demands of their new professions.

The Brantford Campus courtroom is real in every respect, with a judge’s bench and formal, cherry wood furnishings, for the court clerk, the jury, the accused, the defence and the prosecution. The courtroom is outfitted with microphones and video-tapping equipment, as well as flags, crests, robes for the ‘lawyers’ and judges and uniforms for the police officers. A jail cell is included behind the courtroom, from which the ‘accused’ is escorted into court attired in a bright orange jumper. The entire atmosphere serves to generate respect amongst students for the court, and they are expected to project a professional demeanour once inside. The courtroom has been used for mock trials since November 2004, and its use will expand to include all three branches of the Public Safety and Security Program—Police Foundations, Law and Security and Corrections—in the coming years.

The Educational Summit, a bi-annual event at the college, will run from March 8 th through March 11 th, 2005. Seminars, lead by policing and security professionals, include:

Policing and Security Professionals

Event Security Planning

Environmental Swat Team

SPCA Investigations and Enforcement

Forensic Identification

Emergency Response Unit and Bomb Disposal

Youth Gambling

Media Relations in Policing

Loss Prevention Investigations

Death Investigations

National Parole Board Hearings

Evidentiary Integrity

Who’s Lying in Interviews

What to Expect in the Hiring Process

The Anatomy of an Armoured Car Robbery

The main thrust of the educational summit is to provide an on-site, dynamic learning experience for the 700 plus students of Mohawk College’s Public Safety and Security Program. The week long summit wraps up on Friday, March 11 th with a multi-agency recruiting and information day, open to all attendees and interested members of the public, held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., followed by a Student Success Charity Ball from 6:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Polish Hall in Brantford.