Example Final Jury Instructions (Conclusion, Deliberation and Parole)

From Criminal Law Notebook
Jump to navigation Jump to search


  • Verdict Sheets
  • Use of Decision Trees

Transcripts of Evidence

12.1 Transcript of Evidence (Last revised June 2012)

[1] Although the testimony of every witness has been recorded, we will not have a written transcript of the evidence available for you to review when you go to the jury room to discuss your decision in this case. I think you will find that your collective memory of the evidence is good. However, if there is something you cannot recall or your recollections differ, counsel and I will try to assist you by reviewing our notes or I may direct that the evidence be played back from the recorder. Normally, we would play back both the direct evidence and the cross-examination on any point.[1]

[1] In the province of Quebec, jurors are instructed that if they wish to re-hear a part of the testimony of a witness, they will be allowed to do so in the jury room but they must be instructed to listen to every part of the witnesses’ testimony that bears on the subject of their inquiry, including any portion that may explain, attenuate or put it into context: R. c. Hovington, [2007] J.Q. No 7780, 75 W.C.B. (2d) 269 (CA); R. c. Robert, [2004] J.Q. No 8562 (CA).


12.2 Procedure for Questions

(Last revised June 2012)
[1] If, during your discussions, you have any questions, please put them in writing in a sealed envelope and give it to the (specify, sheriff, constable or other) who will be outside the door of the jury room. S/he will bring the envelope to me and I will discuss the questions with the lawyers. You will be brought back into the courtroom and I will reply to your questions.
[2] I ask that you put your questions in writing so that I understand exactly what it is that you want done or answered. Be as clear and specific as possible. In that way, I can be more accurate and helpful in my reply.

Requirements for a Verdict

12.3 Requirements for a Verdict

(Last revised June 2012)
[1] A verdict, whether of guilty or not guilty, is the unanimous decision of the jury. To return a verdict (with respect to each person charged) on a count requires that all of you agree on your verdict. While your verdict on any count must be unanimous, your route to the verdict need not be. You could all be satisfied of (NOA)’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt even though individually you have different views of the evidence. Similarly, you could all have a reasonable doubt about (NOA)’s guilt but not agree why. It matters not, provided that your verdict on the count is unanimous.
[2] You should make every reasonable effort, however, to reach a verdict. Consult with one another. Express your own views. Listen to the views of others. Discuss your differences with an open mind. Try your best to decide this case.
[3] I am now handing you a verdict sheet[1] (provide explanation for recording the verdict). If you reach a unanimous verdict (on a count or counts), your foreperson should record it on your verdict sheet and notify the (specify, sheriff, constable or other). We will come back into court to receive it. Your foreperson will tell us your verdict in the courtroom.
[4] If you cannot reach a unanimous verdict (on a count or counts), you should notify the (specify, sheriff, constable or other) in writing. S/he will bring me your message.

[1] The verdict sheet should set out the possible verdicts on each count for each accused. For included offences, the option should read “not guilty of (offence charged), but guilty of the included offence of (specify)”. The verdict sheet should be discussed with counsel before it is given to the jury to ensure that it accurately sets out all the available verdicts.

Further Instructions

12.4 Further Instructions

(Last revised June 2012)
[1] When you retire to the jury room, do not begin deliberating until the (specify: sheriff, constable or other) tells you to do so. I need to consult with the lawyers to see if I have overlooked anything. If so, I will call you back in for further instructions.

(If the jury is recalled, state:)

[2] I have some further instructions to give you. Unless I tell you otherwise, do not consider these further instructions to be any more or less important than anything else I have said about the law. All the legal instructions, whenever they may be given, are of equal importance.

Discharging Excess Jurors

12.5 Discharge of Jurors in Excess of Twelve (s. 652.1(2))

(June 2012)

(Instruction to be given when an order has been made under s. 631(2.2) and more than twelve jurors are remaining at the end of the charge.)

[1] I am now required to identify the twelve jurors who will participate in the deliberations. Your juror numbers have been written on cards of equal size and placed in a box that will be thoroughly shaken. The clerk will draw at random one/two card(s) and that juror (those jurors) will be discharged.
[2] If you are discharged, I want to stress that by your participation in this case you have performed an essential service in the administration of justice. On behalf of myself and all Canadians I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for your dedication to this case.
[3] I remind you that all jury discussions are secret. You must not tell anyone anything about your discussions unless that information was disclosed in open court. To do so would be a criminal offence.

  • Acceptable Conduct in Deliberations