The historic Fernie courthouse

Museum hosting mock trial of Picariello

The Fernie Museum will be hosting a mock trial at the Fernie Courthouse to reexamine the trial of Emilio Picariello.

The Fernie Museum will be hosting a mock trial at the Fernie Courthouse to reexamine the trial of Emilio Picariello. The event is the last in a series in honour of their current exhibit, The Rise and Fall of Emilio Picariello.

Lori Bradish, museum coordinator and organizer of the event, said that the trial is intended to educate the public on the story of Picariello.

“Guilty or Innocent is a special event, hosted by the Fernie Museum, being held in the Fernie courthouse to examine the trial of Emilio Picariello and Florence Lassandro. In 1922 the two were tried, convicted and eventually hanged in the murder of Alberta Provincial Police officer Stephen Oldacres Lawson,” Bradish said. “The court case will be introduced to the audience by a “judge” or moderator. The historical aspects of the era – prohibition, rum running- will give the audience a feel for what was the social sentiment of the times. Fernie lawyers Karen Tse and Graeme Nunn, from Rockies Law, will be examining the trial from a 2015 lens. Nunn and Tse will discuss how Picariello and Lassandro may have been charged today and how the Crown and the Defense would perhaps approach the case differently, or not, as a result. Based on their presentation, a “jury”, chosen randomly from ticket holders, will decide if Picariello and Lassandro would be guilty or innocent under today’s approach to the case.”

The Museum hosted three events since September, all in honour of the exhibit.

“This event is the culmination of a slate of programming related to the Picariello exhibit that has been hosted by the museum. The fall opening Chautauqua was an opportunity to host visitors to the museum to view the new exhibit while still offering the feel of the historic outdoor tent revival feel. The second program, the Friday Night Speak Easy, was timed to coincide with the end of October and was in keeping with the secretive Gate Night of past times. The court case examination is the culmination of the exhibit and was a fitting end to the museum’s program series,” said Bradish. She said that the museum is committed to bringing “history alive” with innovative programs relating to all of the exhibits that they curate.

Their next exhibit will focus on Waterton Lakes National Park. Titled Peace Parks Explorations, the exhibit will feature the photography of Nomran E. Riley. It is set to start in late January and will run until the end of April.