Efforts to change jury selection could see results within a year, Senator Murray Sinclair says

Posted
March 7, 2018

A team of people working on making changes to the Criminal Code, specifically surrounding jury selection, could have results within the next year, says a senator from Manitoba.

Last month, Senator Murray Sinclair said he intended to lobby lawmakers in Ottawa for concrete changes to the Criminal Code after a Saskatchewan farmer was found not guilty in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man.

Now Sinclair says he's assembled a team of people to start working on changes to the Criminal Code, and that he's spoken with Justice officials about what kind of changes he'd like to see happen.

"It probably won't be easy. It won't be quick, but this time next year I expect we'll have some results," he said, after delivering a speech at the Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg on truth and reconciliation.

After the not-guilty verdict, Boushie's family members went to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others to talk about changes to the way jurors are chosen in Canada.

During jury selection, Stanley's defence team excluded five potential jurors who appeared to be Indigenous. CBC News has not independently determined the reason for their exclusion.

Currently, defence lawyers and Crown prosecutors can exclude people from juries in Canada without having to give a reason.

That's done through a long-standing procedure called a "peremptory challenge," which critics say can lead to discrimination or biased juries.

Read more: Efforts to change jury selection could see results within a year, Senator Murray Sinclair says