Student sleuths join to fight crime
Senior police officers, solicitors and justice department staff are lending their expertise to a new Crime Club at QUT that will end in a student-led 'trial' at a Brisbane court in May.
Queensland Law Society, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Queensland Police and the Australian Federal Police have partnered with QUT's Faculty of Law to mentor 90 law and justice students participating in the crime-solving challenge.
Dr Peter Bell, Crime Club co-founder and Faculty of Law senior lecturer, said the club was the first activity of its kind in Australia to engage students in a real-world crime solving experience that combined theory from QUT's School of Law and School of Justice.
"The Crime Club brings together what they've learned in different units of study and puts it into practice," Dr Bell said.
"As the activity evolves, teams are eliminated. The final teams prepare a court brief which they will prosecute in a Supreme court room before a real judge."
The student teams must piece together forensic data, interview suspects, prepare an investigative strategy and deliver an intelligence briefing to successfully prosecute an offender and solve the simulated theft of $80,000 worth of computer equipment.
The semester-long extra-curricular activity will culminate in a student-led 'trial' in May at the Banco Court, supervised by Judge Dearden.
Queensland Police officers recently visited QUT to provide advice and guidance while students were interviewing suspects, ensuring that proper police procedures were used.
The Department of Public Prosecutions Assistant Director, Todd Fuller SC, presented a seminar to students on how to prepare a court brief.
Crime Club co-ordinator and Bachelor of Laws student Edward Robinson said students had to be smart about how they approached the case.
"The experience is designed to emphasise that in the real world a lot is at stake in criminal investigations," he said.
"If they don't follow proper procedures when seeking information like CCTV footage, fingerprints or forensics they don't get it or it could be inadmissible."
Two Queensland Police assistant commissioners, Brett Pointing and Tony Wright, and Australian Federal Police Northern Region Commander Mark Walters will review the teams' assessment briefs on May 14.
The best two teams chosen will move onto a trial, which takes place on May 25 in the Banco Court, and a class of senior secondary school law and justice students will act as the jury.
Dr Bell thanked law and justice officials for taking part in the Crime Club.
"The support we've received from Queensland Police, Law Society and Australian Federal Police has been outstanding," he said.
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