On trial for 5,999 murders

Chelsea Powrie

A short time ago in a galaxy not far away, Luke Skywalker was put on trial for 5,999 murders. 

It was part of the annual Law Day at the Penticton courthouse, educating around 120 middle school kids from the area about legal proceedings. 

On Friday, the mock trial featured a Grade 7 student from KVR Middle School posing as Luke Skywalker, accused of mass murder after exploding the Death Star. 

His peers played judge, jury and witnesses in a real Supreme Court courtroom. Skywalker told Castanet he was "really, so anxious," ahead of the trial, fearful for his freedom. 

Darth Vader himself took the stand, claiming innocence in the whole situation and pointing the finger at Skywalker. 

"5,999 people died in the Death Star. They were a magnificent crew. They shouldn't have died," Vader said on the stand. "Why would someone want to kill innocent people?"

But the defence lawyer poked holes in that, pointing out that Vader had provoked Skywalker's actions by blowing up his sister Princess Leia's home planet. 

"Umm, I did little things like blowing up buildings and cities, but not much," Vader said. 

Princess Leia told Castanet she didn't think her brother should be on trial at all. 

"I also think that Darth Vader and the Emperor should be the ones on trial," Leia said. "Not Luke."

A jury of their middle school peers agreed, finding Luke not guilty after just 10 minutes of deliberation. Judge Mackenzie Ploner said she felt the verdict was just. 

"Nobody should go to jail if someone's destroying their planet and blowing up cities," she said "They should be able to fight back, it's just self defence."

The whole exercise was part of a day-long schedule of activities at the courthouse which included a tour of the holding cells, talks from lawyers, judges, sheriffs and police, and more. 

After his acquittal, Skywalker told Castanet he plans to enjoy his newfound freedom by checking out the fair at the SOEC this weekend. 

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