Jury Selection

From Criminal Law Notebook

General Principles

Every person charged with a crime has a right to a fair trial before an impartial tribunal. This right includes the right to an impartial jury.[1]

The right to a jury is protected by s. 1(d) which guarantees the right to be tried by an "independent and impartial tribunal" and s. 11(f) which guarantees the right to a jury that is "impartial and representative."[2]

A jury selected to decide a case as the trier-of-fact is formally known as a "petit jury". It usually consists of 12 persons. The petit jury is selected at random from a "jury panel" who is a group of several hundred people selected from the "jury roll."[3]

Any legal errors in jury selection will require a new trial.[4] This includes errors of law by the judge or unreasonable exercise of discretion in managing the selection process.[5]

  1. R v Sherratt, 1991 CanLII 86 (SCC), [1991] 1 SCR 509, per L'Heureux-Dube J, at para 57
    R v Douse, 2009 CanLII 34990 (ON SC), 246 CCC (3d) 227, per Durno J, at para 40
  2. Sherratt, supra, at para 35
  3. R v Pan, 2014 ONSC 1393 (CanLII), per Boswell J, at paras 34 to 37
  4. R v Barrow, 1987 CanLII 11 (SCC), [1987] 2 SCR 694, per curiam, at p. 714
  5. R v Barnes, 1999 CanLII 3782 (ON CA), 138 CCC (3d) 500, per Moldaver JA, at para 30