Living the Law

On Friday 9th of February 2018, 13 Year 12 students from the SCOTS PGC Legal Studies class attended the “Living the Law” seminar held at the Alison Dickson Lecture Theatre at the University of Southern Queensland. The seminar had approximately 300 Senior Legal Studies students from High Schools around the Toowoomba, Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley districts in attendance to listen to seven diverse speakers, they were:

Head of Law USQ – Professor Reid Mortensen

District Court Judge – Judge Hornemann-Wren SC*

Crime Stoppers – Sergeant Scott McGragh

Toowoomba Crime Investigation Bureau – Detective Senior Sergeant Paul McCusker

The Advocacy & Support Centre (TASC) and Legal Aid Queensland team of Lawyers

The Rule of law Institute – Ms Jackie Charles

Toowoomba District Legal Studies Panel Chair – Ms Kathryn Gouldson

After introductions from USQ, the first key note speaker Judge Hornemann-Wren was proudly introduced as a former student of the SCOTS PGC College and spoke about his experiences as a member of the judiciary with a focus on changes in the law throughout his career.

Touching on such topics as, Mabo and Same Sex Marriage, His Honour proceeded to base the key part of his address on and our class’s new 2018 elective topic – Technology and the Law. From patents to 3D printers, old school tape recorders to modern day recording capabilities, the internet and the proliferation of child exploitation material and drugs, and the perils of using mobile technology whilst driving, the seminar was off to a truly interesting and relevant start.

A quick and intensely interesting session on how the anonymity of callers to Crime Stoppers is preserved and Detective Senior Sergeant Paul McCusker stepped on to the podium. With one of the most raw, real life, step by step, hide nothing presentations on the investigative process, the Head of the Criminal Investigation Bureau took student and teachers alike on an almost 700 day journey from day one through to case closed, of a serious case of sexual assault.

The Advocacy and Support Centre followed with some real interest in Social Justice shown by Sophie Osborn, Samantha Robertson and Tshinta Kendall. An enjoyable lunch soon ensued in the grounds of USQ and before long it was time for the last two sessions. Jackie Charles from the Rule of Law Institute in Sydney entertained with a whimsical look at Migration Law and the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children and Young People in the Northern territory.

The final presentation was from the Legal Studies Panel Head providing students with some effective advice about how to succeed in their major Independent Study. With stories of Jack and Jill being forced to go up the hill because the valley was flooded, we all headed back to Warwick, much wiser from the experience.

A great day was had by all, with positive feedback from all attendees and another truly positive representation was made successful by our wonderful students! Our endeavours also resulted in our School’s official connection to Judge Hornemann-Wren SC being re-established, with His Honour returning to SCOTS PGC later on this year to speak, once again, with our Legal, and Civics and Citizenship, students.

Head of Law USQ, Professor Reid Mortensen and District Court Judge, Judge Hornemann-Wren SC*

Toowoomba Crime Investigation Bureau – Detective Senior Sergeant Paul McCusker