Study recommends jurors receive more financial and psychological support

Federal justice committee calls for 11 policy changes to mitigate juror stress

A former juror who suffered serious emotional trauma after serving on a jury, requested a policy change that led to a comprehensive study and report by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Released Wednesday (May 22), the Improving Support for Jurors in Canada report contains 11 recommendations to mitigate juror stress and to ensure that former jurors have access to psychological support services after their duty has ended.

Recommendations from the report include offering a psychological support and counselling program to all jurors after their jury service has ended and amending the secrecy rule provision of the Criminal Code to allow former jurors to discuss jury deliberations with mental health professionals. It also calls to increase the daily allowance to at least $120 for the jurors’ service for the duration of the legal proceedings.

“Jurors are a vital part of our justice system and it is our responsibility to ensure they don’t suffer emotional or financial hardship just by fulfilling their civic duty,” said MP Murray Rankin.

Rankin was approached in 2016 by former juror Mark Farrant, who asked for jurors to receive more access to resources during and after difficult trials.

As then NDP House Leader, Rankin worked with then NDP Justice Critic, Alistair MacGregor, to call for the creation of a national standard of support for Canadians serving on juries with the help of then NDP Justice Critic, Alistair MacGregor.

The government is looking for a service provider before announcing when the new program will be available.

The service will be available to any juror who has served on a criminal, civil, or coroner’s jury for up to six months after a trial has ended, although the government says those who might need support beyond that time will have their requests considered on a case-by-case basis.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

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