Immediately after a Saskatchewan farmer was found not guilty by a jury of his peers, Canada’s Prime Minister and Justice Minister both demanded that Canada “must do better.” But, I remain uncertain what it is, exactly, we must do better at…
- Must we do better at convicting white farmers in the deaths of indigenous men?
- Must we do better at selecting juries that better represent the victim – than the accused?
- Must we do better at ensuring jurors defer to the Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada when assessing the guilt or innocence of an accused at trial?
What, Mr. Trudeau, what? Please, explain!
Because, without explanation, it seems very much like Prime Minister Trudeau and Justice Minister Wilson-Raybould are saying the jury got it wrong. It sounds like they believe the accused should have been convicted – based on evidence that neither of them heard, since neither of them were in the courtroom.
If the Minister of Justice believes an error in law occurred, she could seek to appeal the acquittal. But, if she succeeds… and a new trial is ordered, how will the new jurors be expected to vote? No doubt, they will have heard the Minister’s remarks. No doubt, they will understand the first jury was wrong. No doubt, they will understand the correct verdict is guilty.
How much better would the justice system be if the government simply told jurors what to decide?
Why, so much better!
In fact, perhaps, we should dispense with juries altogether. Just have the Crown Counsel write a one-page briefing note for the Minster of Justice (she’s very busy) and let her decide the fate of the accused.
This may also be the most efficient way to solve the systemic over-representation of indigenous men in Canada’s prison system. Wilson-Reybould could just acquit all indigenous men accused of crimes and convict all accused white men. It wouldn’t take long at all to even up the score in prison. Sure, some guilty men would be erroneously freed and some innocent men would be imprisoned, but hey…
It’s all for the Greater Good!