A 'murder' trial was on the docket at the Barrie courthouse last week in a spicy case that involved dozens of teenagers and their families.
Even some local teachers were in on it, while lawyers provided tips to everyone — including the prisoners.
It was chaotic, at times.
It was murder by sausage.
It was the Simcoe-Muskoka Mock Trial Competition.
The annual event took place Thursday night at the Barrie courthouse and saw students from eight high schools in the region pair off and compete for top prize as they were judged for their performances.
It also involved some drama students, which was, at times, hilariously obvious.
This was the first time since 2019 that the competition took place. Students from Nottawasaga Pines, Georgian Bay District, Nantyr Shores and Innisdale played the role of the defence, while students from Barrie North, Patrick Fogarty, Collingwood Collegiate, and Elmvale Distrct High School acted as the Crown.
The case was a fictional one, about a local restaurant owner murdered via asphyxiation by sausage; the suspect was a rival restaurant owner.
The trials involved Grade 11 and 12 law students who were looking to get first-hand experience at a career they may be looking to pursue.
During proceedings in the competition between Nantyr Shores and Patrick Fogarty, one student lawyer produced an actual massive sausage and dropped it in front of the accused sitting on the stand.
The courtroom, including many local lawyers, couldn’t contain their laughter.
Funny as it was, the students, in their roles as Crown and defence, kept their composure and kept going.
It was a light-hearted affair but also an important one, as these teenagers took the task seriously.
Criminal defence attorney David Wilcox said he always looks forward to the mock trial.
“These kids have a long day, too. But here they are, working hard and being so upbeat about it. I enjoy it, along with my fellow colleagues, because we get to see these kids learning and taking it all in and maybe one day doing it as a career,” said Wilcox.
“These are some smart kids; it's fun to watch. Sometimes they learn from us, but there is always a time when we learn something from them," Wilcox added.
With actual judges presiding over the trials and markers keeping score, Innisdale was the overall winner, but the experience was meaningful to all who participated.