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FROM THE OJEN BLOG

Hamilton Twitter Moot Winners Treated to Lunch with a Judge

Sometimes it pays to tweet!! On Thursday, June 6, 2019 Justice Jane Milanetti of the Ontario Superior Court treated Twitter Moot “Best Tweeter” Ebun Soneye from Cathedral High School along with other students from Glendale Secondary to lunch at the John Sopinka Courthouse. Ebun is a Grade 11 law student who participated in this year’s Twitter Moot that was open to students from across the city. This year’s topic up for debate was whether Canadians should have a reasonable expectation of privacy in electronic messages (such as texts) even after they have been sent and received.

Donna MacKenzie, Kris C., Dragana D., Justice Milanetti, Wajmah S., Ebun Soneye, Patricia Valeri-Tortis

Donna MacKenzie, Kris, Dragana, Justice Milanetti, Wajmah, Ebun, Patricia Valeri-Tortis

A robust debate was held between students from across the city about freedom of expression, the right to electronic privacy, the need for police to investigate digital conversations and the duties and obligations of social media platforms. Many interesting comments were raised about the R v Marakah (2017) SCC court decision that said texting is a like a private conversation with the door shut and that this is different than a public post. Many students felt that if there is an imminent danger to society or if the authorities have reasonable grounds to believe there is a threat, then a search and seizure of someone’s messages may be justified. However, most students agreed that nothing posted on the internet is ever private and we must be mindful of that when we post, tweet or comment online, whether it is private or public.

One of the winning tweets posted by Ebun seemed to sum it all up eloquently:

“The issue of electronic privacy is wide and there is a plethora of arguments on both ends of the conversation but citizens should be aware of the fact that messages sent on social media platforms are liable to public viewing and shouldn’t expect a great level of privacy #HLD2019”

Law teacher Patricia Valeri Tortis was thrilled to see Ebun’s effort recognized at the Twitter Moot. “Ebun has only been in Canada since August of last year and she has embraced Canada, the Cathedral community and her legal studies, in particular. She is a very bright young woman who often asks higher order thinking questions and is very good at applying information learned to real world applications. She is very enthusiastic and engaged in her studies and I know she has a bright future ahead of her.”

Lunch with the Judge and Articling Students Changed Ebun’s Life

EbunEbun was very happy to participate in the Twitter debate and it clearly had a huge impact on her life and future goals. “Getting the opportunity to participate in such an activity was a real game changer for me. It was the first competition I ever engaged in since I moved from Nigeria and I had tremendous support from my teacher Mrs. Valeri Tortis. Our discussions on the Charter, searches and digital privacy were so interesting and her positive attitude toward the contest was very encouraging.

When the results came out I was going through a great deal of stress from home and at school and it definitely lifted my mood. It gave me hope to continue working hard to achieve my goals. The lunch at the courthouse with the judge and articling students literally changed my life! Not only did I get to try new delicious desserts that I had never had before, I got to ask questions about my career path from experienced people. In that one afternoon I can safely say that I have decided to pursue a career in law. I am forever grateful for the opportunity given to me by HJEN to participate in this Twitter Moot. I can’t wait to compete in it again next year.” 

Many thanks to Hamilton Justice Education Network and to committee members Mina Karabit and Claire McNevin, articling students at the John Sopinka Courthouse, for organizing and running the Twitter Moot for 2019. All the best in your future endeavours as you are called to the bar and start your careers as lawyers!!

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