April 24, 2018
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COMMONS
The All-White Jury In Canada
There's a simple legal mechanism that allows lawyers to whitewash juries. A new bill proposes getting rid of it, but some lawyers are saying that will make things worse. We look back to how we got here.

The acquittal of Gerald Stanley in the shooting of Colten Boushie sparked outrage across Canada. The anger was further fuelled by the fact that the jury was all white, in a community that had a significant Indigenous population. A look into Canada’s legal history reveals that this was not an anomaly. After the Gerald Stanley verdict, the government proposed sweeping changes to the legal system in Bill C-75. The legal community has been divided on these proposed changes – some say they are an important first step to make juries more diverse, while others say they will actually make juries less diverse.

Kent Roach, chair of law and public policy at the University of Toronto, gives the legal history of whitewashing juries.

Roseanne Sylvester tells the story of her brother, Donald Marshall Jr., a Mi’kmaq man who was wrongfully convicted by and all-white jury decades ago.
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