Free Legal Advice Regarding Jury Duty

Canada's jury system is vital because it allows ordinary people to play a role in achieving justice. In addition, a trial by a jury of the accused's peers is made possible.

Civil cases also require juries, but they are much less common than criminal cases. A trial by jury is guaranteed in Canada for anyone accused of a crime that carries a potential jail term of five years or more. In Ontario, criminal trials have a jury of 12 members, while civil trials have only 6. In the event that one of the original twelve jurors becomes ill or cannot complete the trial for another reason, an alternate juror or two may be selected for a more complex criminal trial.

Who is eligible for jury duty

A juror in Ontario must meet three requirements: be a Canadian citizen, be at least 18 years old, and live in Ontario.

Who is ineligible for jury duty

Former jurors have a three-year waiting period before being eligible to serve again. In addition, there are a variety of professions that excuse their members from jury duty.

  • Canadian politicians from either the Senate or the House of Commons
  • Sheriffs
  • Attorneys and future attorneys
  • Practitioners of medicine and dentistry
  • Officers of the law
  • Correctional counselors
  • Officers of the law
  • Firefighters
  • Justices of the peace, magistrates, and judges
  • Those serving in the armed forces

In addition, those with certain criminal records cannot serve on a jury.

In what ways are jurors selected?

The Potential Jury Centre within Ontario's Ministry of the Attorney General draws names at random from the province's voters' roll to serve on juries. Within five days of receiving the questionnaire, these individuals are expected to mail it back to the Potential Jury Centre in a pre-paid envelope with their completed answers. A fine of up to ,000 and/or imprisonment for up to six months may be imposed for either the failure to return the questionnaire or the provision of false information. Jury eligibility is determined by the answers given on the questionnaires. Those selected receive a jury summons in the mail with instructions on when and where to report for jury duty.

Picking a Jury

You are only considered a possible juror if you receive a jury summons; you may or may not be selected to serve. You'll be part of a group of people called a jury panel, from which individual jurors will be chosen. The clerk of court draws names at random, and the potential juror who is called has the opportunity to explain to the judge why he or she will be absent. In addition, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney can choose whether or not to accept the juror. If both attorneys agree to have the person serve on the jury, then that person serves.

It is your responsibility as a Canadian citizen to answer a jury summons and serve on a jury if you are selected to do so.

Juror Obligation

During the trial, jurors are required to listen to the evidence presented They should make an effort to evaluate the evidence with an open mind and without bias. After witnesses have presented their cases, the judge will give the jury instructions on the applicable law and the factors they should take into account. After deliberating, the jury will retire to a private room. All conversations among jurors must remain private, both during and after the trial.

All twelve jurors must concur before a verdict can be reached. In cases where a jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict, the judge may dismiss the panel and direct the selection of a new panel.

Can jurors be required to miss work or receive compensation?

Unless you are selected for a particularly lengthy or complex trial, you can expect to serve on a jury for no more than a week. It could take a few days, a few weeks, or a few months Your employer is obligated to provide you with time off if you need to serve on a jury. However, unless stated in your employment contract or collective agreement, your provincial government will not compel your employer to pay your wages.

The length of your jury service and your proximity to the courthouse will determine whether or not the Ontario government will pay you for your time. If you're sitting on a jury,

  • For the first ten days of your service, you will not be compensated monetarily or nutritionally.
  • From the 11th day until the 50th day of jury duty, you will be paid $40.
  • If you are still on trial after the 50th day, you will receive $100 per day.

The court typically sits from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. m between the hours of 9:00 a m every day, and jurors can go home at night Meals and lodging are typically provided if your shift runs late or requires you to stay overnight. Jurors who reside more than 40 kilometers outside of the city limits receive a travel allowance to and from the courthouse. Once a person begins serving as a juror, they will be reimbursed for their daily transportation costs.

Getting out of serving on a jury

Requesting to be excused from jury duty is within your rights if you are too ill or otherwise unable to serve. As soon as possible, submit a written request to the court's clerk along with any supporting paperwork you may have. If your situation is particularly dire, a judge may grant you an exemption.

Criminal Code Amendment Act, Bill S-206 (juror disclosure of information).

Since the passage of Canada's Bill S-206 Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors) in January 2023, Canadian jurors have the legal right to disclose information about jury proceedings to medical professionals. Those in the medical or mental health fields who treat or counsel former jurors fall under this category.

A local courthouse or the Ministry of the Attorney General's website is good places to start looking for details about jury duty.

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