Police vetting of jury pool gets murder conviction tossed


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Goober
#1
Police vetting of jury pool gets murder conviction tossed

The Prosecutors that tried to deny a fair trial- subvert the Justice System-Brought the judiciary into disrepute - natural justice- should receive substantial discipline. Up to and including disbarment.

Police vetting of jury pool gets murder conviction tossed - Toronto - CBC News

A man accused of kidnapping and slitting a woman's throat has had his murder conviction quashed because prosecutors and police acted improperly when it came to jury selection at his trial.

In ordering a new hearing for Clare Spiers, Ontario's top court said Wednesday an examination of how potential jurors were vetted creates a "troubling picture" of damaging collusion between Crown and police that amounted to a miscarriage of justice.

"This picture is one of unfairness in the jury-selection process," the Ontario Court of Appeal said.

"There can be no doubt that the public and an accused would view with grave suspicion a jury-selection process that unfairly favours the Crown."

After a four-month trial in 2007, a jury in Barrie, Ont., convicted Spiers of first-degree murder and two counts of kidnapping in the 2004 death of a woman, who was snatched outside a home along with her infant granddaughter. The baby was found unharmed, but she was found dead in a wooded area.

Spiers later became aware of possible problems in the jury-selection process. He discovered background checks were done on potential jurors in direct violation of government policy.

Court documents show the regional Crown attorney asked police to run checks on prospective jurors, saying it would be helpful to have information about a "disreputable person we would not want as a juror."

Essentially, the prosecution wanted those with a "negative attitude to law enforcement" flagged for exclusion as jurors.

Officers not only checked for criminal backgrounds, but also searched driving records and other databases for any police contact with potential jurors.

Police provided several binders with the jury lists to the Crown that included comments such as "Flag, hates police."

None of the information was provided to the defence before the trial.

The Appeal Court found several problems with what had occurred.

The jurors the Crown sought to include in the jury, while impartial, may not be the type of juror that the appellant would want to sit in judgment of his case," Justice Paul Rouleau wrote for the court.

"But for the failure of the Crown to make disclosure of the improperly assembled information, the jury would have been differently constituted in this case."

The Crown had argued it followed accepted practices for jury preparation, but the court rejected that notion unequivocally.

The prosecution obtained the names of potential jurors and asked police to investigate them weeks in advance of when it was entitled to do so, the court said.

The background checks also went well beyond looking to see if a potential juror had convictions for indictable offences —something that could make a person ineligible to sit on a jury — and worsened the appearance and consequences of the collusion between Crown and police, the court said.

The Appeal Court also found the Crown's misuse of police databases violated provincial privacy legislation.

Spiers, an aboriginal with a long history of violence, had also argued that no on-reserve residents were among the 286 people offered up for his jury.

The court did not deal with that part of his appeal because it is being handled under a different case that was heard at the same time in the spring.

Peter Thorning, who represents Spiers, said he was "pleasantly pleased" the court had seen through the prosecution's attempt to stack the jury in its favour.

Spiers will most likely remain in custody pending a new trial, which is likely many months away.
© The Canadian Pr
 
The Old Medic
+3
#2
That verdict was properly thrown out. Both sides have to "play fair", or there is NO justice for anyone.
 
taxslave
+4
#3  Top Rated Post
And that is why it is pronounced "JUST US" as in normally only the rich get a fair trial. This dude while he may very well be guilty of all charges most certainly did not get a fair trial and got extremely lucky that he found out what happened.
 
JamesBondo
+4
#4
There should be no room for lazy justice. If you want to convict someone, then do it right.
 
shadowshiv
+4
#5
At least he can still be tried for the crime (would he still be able to get tried again if this had happened in the US because of Double Jeopardy?). Hopefully things will be done properly in that one, and justice will be served like it should have been in the first place.
 
PoliticalNick
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshivView Post

At least he can still be tried for the crime (would he still be able to get tried again if this had happened in the US because of Double Jeopardy?). Hopefully things will be done properly in that one, and justice will be served like it should have been in the first place.

The second trial would take place in the US. The conviction & trial were tossed out completely, not overturned. It is like it never happened in the eyes of the law therefore double jeopardy doesn't apply.

Hopefully the crown doesn't cheat this time. It would seem there was enough evidence to get a solid conviction without being sneaky bast*rds in the first place anyway so he should be convicted again.

I would also hope there are some charges of prosecutorial misconduct and some discipline against the cops that did the illegal checks. Just to be fair to all.
 
damngrumpy
#7
I don't know how it works exactly but in some cases in the US as I understand it the accused can
be tried again in a Federal Court if the trial was first held in State Court and a Federal Law was
broken, anyone know more about this?
The law has found itself wanting in many cases in the past. there was a guy who was not guilty
in Cape Breton. He ended up serving years in prison for a murder he didn't commit.
Saskatchewan was another case where a guy supposedly killed a nurse and later they found that
Milgaard was not guilty.
 
SLM
+2
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

And that is why it is pronounced "JUST US" as in normally only the rich get a fair trial. This dude while he may very well be guilty of all charges most certainly did not get a fair trial and got extremely lucky that he found out what happened.

When you look at stories like this it's suddenly not so very surprising that we have the Donald Marshalls or David Milgaards is it?
 
L Gilbert
+2
#9
There's no difference between a kangaroo court and an unfair one, in that both subvert the cause of justice and the rule of law.
 

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