Friday, June 14, 2013

Jury rolls must be representative

R. v. Kokopenace, 2013 ONCA 389 is a  powerful decision on jury rolls and the need for them to be inclusive:

[49]     In my view, to meet its representativeness obligation, the state must make reasonable efforts at each step of creating the jury roll. That includes the state's actions in compiling the lists, but also in sending the notices, facilitating their delivery and receipt and encouraging the responses to them. The objective of the state's actions must be to seek to provide the platform necessary to select an impartial petit jury and to maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system by providing groups that bring distinctive perspectives to the jury process with their fair opportunity to be included in the jury roll.

[50]      In summary the question posed is whether in the process of compiling the jury roll, Ontario made reasonable efforts to seek to provide a fair opportunity for the distinctive perspectives of Aboriginal on-reserve residents to be included, having regard to all the circumstances and keeping in mind the objective served by the representativeness requirement.

[51]     The reasonable efforts standard is a continuing one. If, as time passes, further steps that are reasonably available are needed to provide the fair opportunity to be included, they must be taken.

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