Presentation on theme: "90 Trial Procedures (review) Role of the Jury. 90 The Adversarial System Trial procedures in Canada are based on the adversarial system: two or more opposing."— Presentation transcript:
90 Trial Procedures (review) Role of the Jury
90 The Adversarial System Trial procedures in Canada are based on the adversarial system: two or more opposing sides present and argue their case in court. In order for an accused person to be found guilty, a judge or jury must find them guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Canadian courtrooms have several participants, including the accused, the defence counsel, Crown prosecutors, witnesses, a judge, a jury, a court recorder and members of the general public there to observe.
90 Judges – Who Are They? Judges are often referred to as "the Bench" or "the Court." The federal government appoints judges for the Superior and Federal Courts as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. Provincial governments appoint judges and justices of the peace. Lawyers or law professors with at least 10 years experience may qualify to be a judge.
90 A Judge's Responsibilities During a trial, a judge must act impartially or in an unbiased manner. Judges control the courtroom during bail or preliminary hearings and trials. They must ensure that proper rules and procedures are followed in court. If there is no jury, a judge must also hear the evidence and decide on the verdict in the case. Judges may also rule on a number of motions, including whether or not to admit evidence.
90 The Lawyers The adversarial system features lawyers to represent the government and the accused. Lawyers who represent the government are the Crown Prosecution and those who represent the accused are the Defence Counsel. Crown prosecutors, or Crown attorneys, are responsible for trying to convict the accused. The Crown also has significant powers to lay or withdraw criminal charges. Defence attorneys must defend the accused against the charges to the best of their ability, however heinous the charges are.
90 Other Court Officials In addition to judges and lawyers, there are other court officials who have important responsibilities in court: –Court clerk: reads out charge(s), swears in witnesses, handles evidence and paperwork –Court recorder: sits near the witness box and records each testimony and statement, word for word –Sheriff: assists the judge, find prospective jurors, organizes and secures the court
Juries Serious indictable offences are decided by juries – members of the public who are randomly selected to hear a case and decide on the verdict. There are usually 12 people selected to serve on a jury through a process called empanelling. A jury panel is a group of citizens who are selected for possible inclusion on a jury. If a case is controversial, the number of potential jurors included in the jury panel increases.
90 Who Can Be a Juror? Although each individual province and territory may have its own additional criteria, a potential juror must have these qualifications: He or she must be… 1.A Canadian citizen 2.At least 18 years old 3.A resident of a province or territory for at least one year 4.Fluent in English or French 5.Mentally competent
90 Exemptions From Jury Duty The following people are usually exempt from serving on a jury: 1.Politicians 2.Judges, justices, lawyers, law students 3.Doctors, coroners, veterinarians 4.Law enforcement officers and their spouses 5.People who are visually impaired 6.People with certain mental or physical disabilities 7.People who have served on a jury within the previous 2–3 years 8.Anyone convicted of an indictable offence without a pardon being granted 9.People may also be excused from jury duty if they can convince the court with a specific reason (e.g. illness).
90 Screening Potential Jurors During the screening of potential jurors, the Crown and defence have an opportunity to ask a series of questions, which commonly include: –Are you a Canadian citizen? –Are you fluent in French or English? –Have you been convicted of an indictable offence for which you have not been granted a pardon? –What is your occupation? –Do you have a mental or physical disability or medical condition that may interfere with your ability to serve as a juror? –Have you been summoned for jury duty in the last three years?
90 Jury Challenges There are three types of challenges that the Crown and defence can use to accept or eliminate a prospective juror: 1.challenge of jury list 2.challenge for cause 3.peremptory challenge
90 Challenge of Jury List The Crown and defence may challenge how valid the jury list is, but this is rarely done. If either side can prove the list is fraudulent or biased, a challenge of jury list may be successful. Example: The accused is of Aboriginal descent. The 100 prospective jurors who have been empanelled are all Caucasian. The accused feels the jury list is unfair and challenges its validity.
90 Challenge for Cause This type of jury challenge can be used by the Crown or defence when they wish to exclude a potential juror for a specific reason. A challenge for cause is usually based on the belief that a juror has some kind of bias (e.g. racism, sexism, religious discrimination). Example: The accused is Jewish and his defence lawyers believe a prospective juror is anti-Semitic and can prove it. This type of challenge may be used as many times as necessary.
90 Peremptory Challenge This type of jury challenge may be used by the Crown or defence when they wish to exclude a potential juror without a specific reason. Peremptory challenges are often based on the "gut feeling" of a lawyer or as a strategy. Example: A woman accuses her boyfriend of aggravated sexual assault. The Crown wants more young women on the jury than men and may use peremptory challenges to try and achieve this goal. This type of challenge has limits, depending on the severity of the crime. The most serious charges provide the Crown and defence with 20 challenges each, which is the maximum.
90 Jury Duty – Process After being selected to serve on a jury, each juror takes an oath (to arrive at a verdict honestly) and is sworn into the jury box. Jurors cannot: –Discuss the case with anyone outside of the jury –Follow media reports on the case –Disclose any information from their deliberations even after a trial has finished The jury’s final decision on the case is the verdict and it must be unanimous or else the jury is hung (undecided). In controversial cases, a jury may be sequestered (isolated) until the case is over.