Courthouse opens doors for centennial

The 100th birthday celebration for the stately Vernon Courthouse is approaching, and the local legal community is planning to celebrate

The 100th birthday celebration for the stately Vernon Courthouse is approaching, and the local legal community is planning to celebrate.

On Saturday, April 12, as a tie-in with the annual Law Week, the courthouse is going to be the venue for its own anniversary festivities.

Tours of the building will be conducted and two student groups will be performing in mock trials.

The courthouse will open its doors to the public for this event starting at 10 a.m. on April 12.

Courthouse tours will be conducted hourly and the mock trials will be performed at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

“We are inviting the public to come out and meet the legal profession in Vernon – judges, local lawyers and courthouse staff, plus many other organizations that support legal services and history in the North Okanagan,” said Rob Culos, president of the Vernon Bar Association and chair of the committee planning the event.

The event is being supported by the Canadian Bar Association, the RCMP, Sheriffs services, the John Howard Society and many other local groups and organizations who are involved in history, law, or both.

All will be in the spotlight with various trade displays being put on by interested groups.

A barbecue and other refreshments are planned, and it is expected that the sheriffs will be showcasing their prisoner escort vehicles.

“This event will be like a law and history trade fair,” said Culos.

“We are proud of our heritage courthouse and we look forward to the opportunity to show it off.”

The two mock trials to be performed are loosely inspired by local history: one involves a mysterious death at a local gold mine, and another concerns events at a Second World War internment camp.

The student groups performing in the mock trials are being coached by Susan Egan, a Law 12 teacher at Vernon Secondary School.

“We are well into our criminal law unit and the students are very keen and super excited about the mock trials,” said Egan.

 

“We are planning to be at the courthouse to observe a real jury selection, and we also are going on a field trip to the Kelowna Law Courts to court watch. The students should be well prepared to put on two good shows.”