Law Class Goes To Appeal Court

Sacred Heart Law Students
Win 2013 Spring Charter Challenge!

Sacred Heart Law Students Set a Precedent –

Both Finalists are From Same School!

The Secret of Legal Success

When it comes to legal matters, the general public focuses their attention to large murder trials and big city lawyers, such as the ones on television. The population in the Bruce-Grey area has not been exposed to major trials or to federal matters, yet due to a local law class, this mind set could be changed.

Sacred Heart High School in Walkerton has made its mark on the courts due to the efforts of Mr. Jamie Smith and his grade twelve law class when they set out to truly understand Canada’s most important document, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, introduced in 1982 by the 15th Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau has given all Canadians the dignity and rights that a just and democratic society value. This Charter is an addition to the original Constitution, therefore making this document an important to all Canadians. As part of a project to help understand the importance and value of the Charter, the students were entered into the Charter Challenge run by OJEN (Ontario Justice Education Network). 

The Charter Challenge, run by the Ontario Justice Education Network, is a online competition where students in groups posing as “law firms” prepare facta based on a Charter appeal case prepared by OJEN. On the OJEN website while preparing the facta, groups were given the opportunity in the forums to consult and pick the minds of lawyers as well as debate with other members in the competition. Once finished, the facta are reviewed by actual judges, and the top six is decided.  The top group for the appellant, and the top group for the respondent, argue the issue before a Court of Appeal Judge. The case at issue, Rainfoot and Morrison v. Thunder Bay (City) dealt with a situation involving Aboriginal protestors who were evicted from a public park by the city, due to health and safety concerns. The students were to argue either for the Aboriginals, the respondents or for the City of Thunder Bay, the appellants.

 Mr. Smith helped his class to assess the situation and to use the facts of the case, and various precedence setting cases  to prove their arguments. The real competition was not in the class but between the other private schools from the large cities. To promote confidence in his students, Mr Smith taught  “If there is a will there is a way and if you start doing it you can do it.” This motivation could be the secret of the success. 

For the first time in the history of the Charter Challenge, three groups from the same class placed in the top six. In fifth place was Moore Cash and Associates, including Wendel Cameron, Luke Eddington, Robbie Meek, and Kayla Weiler. They argued on behalf of the natives of Thunder Bay. The finalists, O’Neil and Pray, with the members Brooke Schnurr, Katrina Hodgins, Katrina Wyatt and Jake Colquhoun also argued on behalf of the Aboriginals and went against Massey, Case & Deere which consisted of Jennah Dohms, Brendan King, Sydney Schurr, and Andrew Zettel who argued on behalf of the appellant, the city of Thunder Bay. Not only was this the first time ever for the top two to be from the same school, but sister verses sister, as Brooke and Sydney Schnurr were on opposite sides of the debate.

These two teams traveled to Toronto with Mr. Smith for the debate where O’Neil and Pray and Massey, Case, & Deere went head to head with strong arguments from either side. In the end, Massey, Case & Deere was victorious, and Mr. Smith was more than satisfied with the efforts of his students especially considering the caliber of the competition, which is summed up nicely in his statement, “I like beating private schools”. To speak for a majority of Canadians, it is important that the youth of Bruce-Grey are involved with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the legal system, for it is the foundation of justice and liberty, and a cornerstone of our excellent society.

Check out the Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) Youtube link for more information about the Charter Challenge and this year's competition.

Authors, Students Kayla Weiler and Robbie Meek

In Photo ... from OJEN

 Charter Challenge

OJEN Charter Challenge finalists from Sacred Heart High School posing for pictures with the Honourable Judge Justice Rouleau and Court of Appeal Clerks. The eight youth are law class students from Mr. Smith's Grade 12 course and formed the two finalist teams in the challenge; the first time in history of the Challenge that both finalists were from the same school. is the website for the Ontario Justice Education Network

with information about the Charter Challenge


2010 Charter Challenge Participation

In December, 2010 students from a Grade 12 law class at Sacred Heart High School headed to the appeal court of Ontario to argue in favour of upholding several sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

See the attached Owen Sound Suntimes Article

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