Juries, Miscarriages of Justice and the Bill C-75 Reforms
98(1) Canadian Bar Review, (2020), Forthcoming
40 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2019 Last revised: 28 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 13, 2019
Gerald Stanley’s use of five peremptory challenges to exclude all visibly Indigenous people from the jury that acquitted him of murder and manslaughter in the killing of a 22 year old Cree man, Colten Boushie, was not the only flaw in the selection of the jury in his case that requires radical reform. This article examines the Stanley case as part of a long line of miscarriages of justice involving Indigenous people, but with no Indigenous representation on the jury. It argues that Bill C-75 enacted in 2019 was justified in adopting the radical reform of abolishing peremptory challenges. Unfortunately, however, Bill C-75 pursued only superficial reforms with respect to juror qualifications, equality-based challenges to panels of prospective jurors and challenges for causes. Radical reforms are necessary in all of these areas including provincial reforms with respect to jury lists and pools. Thought should also be given to reviving and adapting mixed juries that would require equal numbers of Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people in cases involving Indigenous people.
Keywords: Jury, Selection, Representativeness, Peremptory Challenges, Challenge for Cause, Miscarriages of Justice
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