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PROCEDURE - Jury - Peremptory challenges

Thursday, October 31, 2019 @ 8:24 AM  

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Application by Chouhan for declarations that Criminal Code amendments eliminating his ability to peremptorily challenge prospective jurors were inconsistent with ss. 7, 11(d) and 11(f) of the Charter.

HELD: Application dismissed. There was no violation of s. 11(d) of the Charter. A reasonable person, fully informed of the safeguards in the selection process for jurors, could not reach the conclusion that an accused’s right to an independent and impartial jury would be violated by the elimination of the peremptory challenge. There was no violation of s. 11(f). The representativeness of the panel, the randomness of its selection and the ability to challenge the process provided sufficient safeguards. There was no violation of s. 7. The arguments based on trial fairness were subsumed in the analyses of ss. 11(d) and 11(f). The legislation was not arbitrary. One of the key purposes was to make the process more open and transparent. The legislation was not grossly disproportionate. The new procedure provided the opportunity to raise concerns that a prospective juror could not be impartial. The legislation was not overbroad. It achieved what it set out to do and went no further.

R. v. Chouhan, [2019] O.J. No. 4797, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, J.B. McMahon J., September 24, 2019. Digest No. TLD-October282019011