Friday, May 1, 2020


Last Tuesday's (April 28) Waterloo Region Record carried an article titled "Lawyers, advocates mull future of jury system". The sub-title is "experts worry about rise in judge-only trials as virus worsens backlogs". That pretty much says it in a nutshell. Defence lawyers are not keen on the idea as stated by Bill Trudell: "I don't think you're going to find that many defence counsel that think expediency should trump the jury system."

I'm of two minds on this issue both from personal experience and from decades long observation of our judicial system. From personal experience I can tell you that I was savaged by an idiot, biased judge by the name of the dishonourable Robert Reilly. He flatly refused my wife and I a jury trial (civil court) based upon an after the fact loophole/technicality engineered by the other party's lawyer. Reilly knew full well that the other lawyer (Pecker) set a trap for us and Reilly as judge did not give us as unrepresented litigants (URL) a heads up as to the ramifications thereof. When I asked for a jury trial, knowing full well that a jury of my peers would be very sympathetic to parents defence of their children, the good (awful) judge refused us a jury based upon a technicality I was unaware of. Hence if you're stuck with a judge who either was in the bottom half of his graduating class or who is grossly biased for whatever reason, then you desperately need a jury to rein him in.

On the other hand juries have participated in a plethora of blatantly ridiculous verdicts based upon junk science, shoddy investigation, dishonest witnesses, prosecutorial misconduct, racial bias and even incompetent or uncaring defence lawyers. The names Milgard, Morin and Don Marshall (Nova Scotia) come to mind although there are now literally dozens in Canada to hundreds of cases of wrongful convictions even for murder in the United States. In other words our judicial system, in my opinion, is a costly, pathetic joke. Juries are both part of the solution and part of the problem as they can be easily manipulated by a well financed state intent upon conviction no matter what the truth is.

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