Law 120 Trial Procedures
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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.

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The Role of the Jury

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The role of the jury

Law 120 Trial Procedures

Essential Learning – Students will be able to understand and evaluate the jury system

The Role of the Jury


Juror qualifications

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


Juror exemptions

  • The following is a list of those who are ineligible to serve as jurors:

    • Members and clerks of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada, Legislative Assembly, or the Lieutenant Governor and their spouses

    • Anyone who works in the administration of justice (for example, a peace officer or employee of the provincial or federal departments of justice) and their spouses

    • Lawyers and other officers of the Courts and their spouses

    • Persons convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code the Food and Drugs Act or the Narcotic Control Act, unless they have obtained a pardon.

Juror Exemptions


Juror exemptions continued

  • Ordained ministers, priests or clergymen licensed to perform marriages in the Province

  • members of religious orders vowed to live only in a convent, monastery or other like religious community

  • Duly qualified medical and dental practitioners

  • Veterinarians

  • Military personnel on active service

  • Firefighters

Juror Exemptions (continued)


Exemptions from jury duty

  • Religious/health issues

  • Financial hardship (unable work during trial)

  • Served on a jury within last two years

    • Applications must be made to the sheriff

Exemptions From Jury Duty


Jury selection

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

Jury Selection


Jury selection continued

  • If guilty plea, jury is not required.

  • If not guilty, Crown and defence counsels select jurors from jury panel under judge’s supervision

  • Selection process

    • Names of people on jury panel written on cards; put into box and drawn at random.

    • Person chosen goes to front of court/faces accused.

    • Either Crown or defence can object to potential juror by challenging the individual.

Jury Selection (continued)


Challenging a juror

Challenge for Cause

  • If counsel believes the potential juror:

    • Has already formed an opinion on the case

    • Is physically unable to perform the duties of a juror

    • Has been convicted of a serious offence

  • Each side has an unlimited number of challenges for cause.

Challenging a Juror


Challenging a juror continued

Peremptory Challenge

  • After juror is selected, Crown or defence can still reject him/her using peremptory challenges – no reason needed – veto

  • Number of challenges depends on seriousness of offence:

    • First degree murder or treason – 20 challenges

    • penalty is greater than 5 years in prison – 12 challenges

    • penalty is less than 5 years in prison – 4 challenges

Challenging a Juror (continued)


Being on the jury

  • After being selected, each juror is sworn in and then sits in the jury box. Prospective jurors who were not selected can leave, but they may have to return for later trials held during that session of the court.

  • At the start of the trial, the judge informs jurors of their duties. They may or may not take notes, depending on the judge or the jurisdiction. In all trials, jurors may NOT:

    • discuss the case with anyone other than other jurors

    • follow media reports about the case

    • disclose any information from the jury discussions that is not revealed in open court.

Being on the Jury


Sequestering a jury

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 a Jury


Purpose of sequestration

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.

Purpose of Sequestration


Juror discharge payment failure to appear penalty

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.

Juror Discharge, Payment & Failure to Appear Penalty


Case r v pietrangelo

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.

Case – R V. Pietrangelo


Case r v pietrangelo cont

Did the trial Judge make a mistake in refusing Pietrangelo the opportunity to challenge prospective jurors for cause?

Case – R V. Pietrangelo(cont)


Case r v pietrangelo cont1

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.

Case – R V. Pietrangelo(cont)


Case r v pietrangelo cont2

Questions:

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?

Case – R V. Pietrangelo(cont)


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