Howard v. Rich

Monday, December 01, 2014 - By: Featherdawn F, Alex ’15; Drawings by Cecilia B, Allard ‘15

“All rise,” the voice of the judge, Ciel AB, Mack ’15, booms out in the courtroom that is silent except for the grating sound of chairs scratching across the floor. A pause.

“Be seated.”

The jury sits. The lawyers sit. Air, tense, permeates the room and the collectively held breath of the participants in the Brentwood mock trial is audible. The lawyers introduce themselves and give their opening statements. Wyatt Tanton E, ‘16, and Evie A Mack, ‘15, represent the defense council lawyers. Georgia P, Mack, ‘16, and Tao B, Rogers, ‘15, represent the crown council lawyers.

The court is silent for a few moments after the lawyers finish, everyone finding their footing in unknown roles. Then, action! With brilliant arguments present by crown and defense council only moments before, the excitement about the case that is to come can be felt by everyone in the room.

Now, let’s take a step back and examine the trial that is about to be presented to the jury. Our accused, Joshua Howard, represented by Daniel P, Ellis, ‘15, is a middle-aged shop teacher at Columneetza Senior Secondary School. The plaintiff, a Grade 11 student named Kyle Rich, represented by David K, Whittall, ‘16 claims that Mr. Howard hit him on the head with a hammer in shop class. Though force to correct a student is not permitted at Columneetza Senior Secondary School, section 43 of the criminal code states that “Every schoolteacher, parent or person standing in the place of a parent is justified in using force by way of correction toward a pupil or child, as the case may be, who is under his care, if the force does not exceed what is reasonable under the circumstances.” This is what the defense will argue.

Mr. Rich is not a good student. Testifying to this, the principle of Columneetza Senior Secondary School, portrayed by Jasmine M, Mack, ‘15, will present various documents depicting numerous suspensions for issues that include drugs and rude behavior. Mr. Rich was on a behavioral contract during the time of this incident.

Mr. Howard has taught Mr. Rich gym and shop class previously. Mr. Howard will claim that Mr. Rich was interrupting the class during an important lesson on the use of a band saw and will be supported by several witnesses’ testimonies. He will say that he never intended to hit Kyle and only used the threat of the hammer as a warning. He will say that the hit was merely a flick.

Mr. Rich will leave class the day of the incident and go to the hospital, at the urging of his mother. The doctor will not diagnose him with a concussion, but Kyle will claim that he felt dizzy and that his arm went tingly. His classmate, Jaime Janz, played by April B, Hope, ‘16, will say that she heard the sound of the hammer hitting Mr. Rich’s head. Cameron King, played by Featherdawn F, Alex, ‘15, will say that she did not hear the sound of the hit.  

The jury watches as these witnesses are called forward and each testimony is given. Each argument is extremely convincing. After all the witnesses have spoken, the jury exits the room to decide the fate of Mr. Howard. As they leave their indecision is evident. One ever whispers, “We have to choose?” That statement alone embodies the quality of the trial: superb.

After deliberation, the decision is announced, Mr. Howard will be acquitted—he is considered innocent. A victory for the defense, yes, but everyone felt the excitement of having executed a very well done court case. Mr. Bryant, Law 12 teacher, was almost giddy.

Featherdawn F, Alex ’15; Drawings by Cecilia B, Allard ‘15

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