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Gerald Stanley trial aftermath: How to avoid appointing all-white juries – Macleans

by ahnationtalk on February 13, 201882 Views

A retired Supreme Court justice looked at ways to get more Indigenous people onto juries. Among his ideas: end ‘discriminatory use of peremptory challenges.’

Outrage and fierce protest has erupted across the country after the acquittal of Gerald Stanley, a farmer from rural Saskatchewan found not guilty by an all-white jury in the killing of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man from the Red Pheasant First Nation. It was a ruling, many say, that offered no justice for Boushie and his family, in a trial that could, alternatively, have resulted in a conviction of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

Since the decision was read, Indigenous people and other Canadians have questioned the jury selection process in a case that was racially charged from the outset. They may not be wrong. Kent Roach, criminal law and constitutional rights expert at the University of Toronto, has described Canada’s system of allowing pre-emptory exclusion of jurors as “a stone-cold invitation for jury selection to be infected by conscious or unconscious racist stereotypes.”

In his 2013 report on First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries, Frank Iacobucci, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, highlighted similar concerns. Iacobucci investigated the underrepresentation of First Nations people living on reserves on the province’s jury roll, a crisis he said raised concerns “about the fairness of our jury system.” “Overrepresented in the prison population, First Nations peoples are significantly underrepresented, not just on juries, but among all those who work in the administration of justice in this province, whether as court officials, prosecutors, defence counsel, or judges,” Iacobucci wrote. Here are excerpts from his recommendations on how to reform jury selection in Ontario:

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