Law 120 Trial Procedures Essential Learning – Students will be able to understand and evaluate the jury system. The Role of the Jury. Must be a Canadian citizen over age of 18 Must be resident of the province in which they are to serve for at least a year. Juror Qualifications.
Law 120 Trial Procedures
Essential Learning – Students will be able to understand and evaluate the jury system
The Role of the Jury
Must be a Canadian citizen over age of 18
Must be resident of the province in which they are to serve for at least a year
Potential jurors selected at random from electoral polling lists – provides cross-section of society.
Group of potential jurors called a jury panel
accused brought before judge and jury panel for arraignment to enter plea guilty/not guilty
Challenge for Cause
During most trials, jurors go home at the end of the day.
The judge may sequester the jury for the entire trial. This means the jury is housed and fed away from home until they reach a formal decision – the verdict.
Jurors are isolated from families, friends and work and can communicate only with one another and the court officer appointed to look after their needs.
Sequestering is used to prevent jurors from being influenced by outside information or by anyone with an interest in the case.
Therefore, the verdict should be based solely on evidence presented in court.
In all trials, jurors are sequestered when they retire to reach a verdict.
A juror can be discharged during a trial if he or she is unable to continue for a valid reason.
If the jury falls below 10 jurors a new trial must be ordered.
Jurors may be entitled to a token payment for their services ($20 half day/ $40 full day plus meals & travel expenses)
Jury duty is considered a civic responsibility. Failure to appear can lead to a Contempt of Court charge and a possible fine of up to $1000.
Pietrangelo was charged with attempted murder and assault with a weapon. The accused represented himself at trial. At the outset of the trial, Pietrangelo indicated he wished to challenge potential jurors for cause – for partiality. Pretrial publicity had been substantial because the victim was the local mayor. At the suggestion of the Crown, instead of allowing the accused to challenge for cause, the trial judge addressed the entire jury panel under s. 632 (c) of the Criminal Code and asked whether any potential jurors might have been influenced by pretrial publicity. A number of jurors came forward and were excused on that basis. Pietrangelo was not allowed to challenge for cause those remaining on the panel regarding the question of bias.
Did the trial Judge make a mistake in refusing Pietrangelo the opportunity to challenge prospective jurors for cause?
The Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge did make a mistake in law by refusing the defendant’s request to challenge potential jurors for cause. The trial judge’s statutory power under s. 632 (c) cannot prevent the accused from making his/her own challenge for cause where proper grounds exist, as they did in this case. This type of error warranted a new trial.
1. Why did Pietrangelo want to challenge for cause instead of making peremptory challenges?
2. Given the pre-trial publicity associated with this case, do you think it would be possible to find 12 impartial jurors in the community where the alleged offence took place? Why or why not?