The PLEA: Mock Trials

The PLEA: Mock Trials

Mock Trial Profile: R. v. Wyler

Self-contained mock trial kits can be a useful tool for implementing mock trials. A good kit will simplify the process by providing everything necessary for a successful staging of a mock trial. A look at PLEA’s R. v. Wyler will help illustrate a typical mock trial kit so that you better understand what to expect.

R. v. Wyler is a case about theft, designed for use in upper-middle-years or high school classrooms. It provides relevant background material on the criminal justice system and an introduction to courtroom personnel. Along with this background material, the kit includes short summaries of the role for each trial participant.

Mark Wyler has been charged with stealing a home theatre system from a friend, Dana Schroeder. Mark’s defence is that the theft was a prank: he says that he had warned Dana that the locks on her house were not secure and that her expensive electronics were not safe.

There is some evidence in support of Mark’s defence. His initials were traced in dust on the shelves where the home theatre was kept and he made no attempt to hide the equipment. In fact, Mark invited Dana to his house where the electronic items were openly visible.

Dana, however, did not see things this way. To her, the incident was no mere prank. Returning home from a holiday, she found that her home theatre system was missing. She promptly reported it to the police. Later that day, she discovered the missing items in the corner of his living room when Mark invited her over for dinner. She became enraged and telephoned the police. As a result, criminal charges were laid.

The fact situation in this mock trial kit is complex enough to allow students to argue either for or against the guilt of Mark Wyler. The kit does not prescribe the outcome but leaves enough ambiguity to allow students some leeway in interpreting the facts and arguing the legal points of the case. The law of theft does allow for a defence of prank, although the precedents are few and they are old.

R. v. Wyler is organized into five lessons, and includes all required accompanying information in reproduceable forms. Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the kit is the final lesson’s emphasis on debriefing after the trial has taken place.

Because it is simple enough for students to grasp, yet has a complex enough fact scenario to allow for good arguments to be made by both sides, R. v. Wyler is a useful and flexible mock trial kit for both middle-years and high school students. Copies of R. v. Wyler are available at no charge from