Over 20 youth prepared for the last four weeks to appear as lawyers, court staff, and witnesses (including the accused) in the mock trial. The exercise is part of a program that hopes to demystify the justice system and inspire social housing youth to consider a career in law.
Piloted in 2005, this Justice Education Program, delivered by real judges, Assistant Crown Attorneys and defence counsel, is a partnership between the Ontario Justice Education Network and Toronto Community Housing. The mock trial is the culmination of a larger program that brings judges, lawyers, bail supervisors, probations staff, diversion staff and duty counsel into Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods to speak candidly with youth about the justice system.
The Ontario Justice Education Network (OJEN) is a collaborative network of organizations and individuals who work together on provincial and local levels to promote understanding, education and dialogue, supporting a responsive and inclusive justice system. With hundreds of volunteers including judges, lawyers, Crown attorneys, court managers and staff, educators and community representatives, OJEN facilitates opportunities for students and others to develop an understanding of our justice system.