Love it or hate it, being summoned for Jury Duty is all a part of carrying out your civic duty as a citizen of Canada. Not only is it your civic duty, it is also an extremely important role within our judicial system. Essentially, the decision of the case is in your collective hands. The lives of those standing on trial will be affected drastically by the final judgement made. This is why it is so imperative to recognize what you are to do and more importantly what you are not to do before walking into that courtroom as a Juror.
Go in to the process with a positive attitude
Jury duty is unquestionably an eye-opening learning experience. You have the opportunity to work with people you probably would never encounter on a day-to-day basis. It is six to twelve strangers-depending on if it is a Civil trial or Criminal trial-coming together, to decide on one unanimous outcome. Think of it as the ultimate collaborative exercise, a key lesson in patience, communication, reasoning and teamwork.
Listen to the facts and keep an open mind
When the court proceeding starts, you will receive brief and general instructions from the judge on how you should approach that particular legal dispute. You will be given evidence throughout the trial and then finally, the respective lawyers will express their views on how they think you should determine the results. Keeping an open mind as a juror allows for a fair trial. Prejudices and biases towards ideas, people, systems, etc. may lead to an unfair judgement.
Search the Internet
Not everything you read on the internet is true. This is why conducting your own research about the case could severely disrupt the trial, and may even lead to a mistrial. Although it is not an offense in Canada to deliberately seek for more information on a case, it is definitely frowned upon. The most sensible policy for jurors is to listen to the evidence presented during the court proceeding’s and stay away from Google.
Ignore your questionnaire or summons
The first step in the Jury selection process is to be sent a Juror Questionnaire. Upon receiving the questionnaire, you must return it within 5 days. If you fail to return the questionnaire, you will be either fined $5,000.00, face imprisonment of up to 6 months or receive both punishments.
For more information about the entire Jury Duty process you can visit: https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/courts/jury/