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Chapter 7

PSYC 2400 Chapter 7: chapter 7 2400 2

Course Code
PSYC 2400
Rebecca Mugford

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There are types of offences in Canada :
1. Summery offences: involves a sentence fewer than 6 months in prisons and a fine of
less than $2000. However the max sentence is 18 months. Summery offences are tried
by judge alone.
2. Indictable: fall into 3 categories:
a. Less serious indictable offences are heard by a judge sitting alone. This includes
obtaining money or property by false pretences and failure to comply with a
probation order.
b. Highly serious indictable offences must be tried by judge and jury. These offences
include, murder, treason, and piracy.
c. For some indictable offences, the accused can choose whether the trial proceeds
by judge and jury or judge alone. These offences include robbery, arson, and
sexual assault with weapon. And the defendant has the option to choose
i. to be tried by a provincial or territorial court judge without a jury and without having
had a preliminary inquiry.
ii. To have a preliminary inquiry and to be tried by a judge without a jury. Or
iii. To have a preliminary inquiry and to be tried by a judge and a jury.
iv. (if a defendant does not choose, he or she will have preliminary inquiry and be tried
by a judge and jury).
3. Hybrid offences: are a cross between indictable offences and summary offences. The
max sentence is five years or more. The max penalty is 6 to 18 months in some cases
such as sexual assault. Furthermore, it’s up to the Crown attorney to decide whether
to proceed with the case as an indictable or summary offence.
Jury Selection:
-The juries act: provincial and territorial legislation that outlines the eligibility criteria
for jury service and how prospective jurors must be selected.
-Minimum age to be a juror in Canada 18 years old and 19 years old in British Colombia.
Thus, eligibility criteria differs across jurisdictions.
-Jury summons: a court order that states a time and place to go for jury duty.It simply
means that you are expected to show up, typically at the courthouse, prepared to be a
juror. If you ignore a summons and don’t show up, you may incur a severe legal
penalty such as a fine or jail time.
-In Canada criminal trials have 12-person juries. If you’re selected from the jury pool
you will be most likely a jury unless a lawyer presents a challenge against you. There
are 2 kinds of challenges:

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1. Peremptory challenge: the lawyer doesn’t need to provide a reason for rejecting
the prospective juror. Each Crown and defence are allowed 20 peremptory
challenges in murder cases and 12 peremptory challenges in other cases.
2. Challenge for case: the lawyer must give a reason for rejecting the prospective
Size of the jury
1970 – U.S. Supreme Court: 6 person juries “functionally equivalent” to 12
-Saks & Marti (1997)
-Larger juries:
a. more likely have at least 1 non-White member
b. deliberate longer
c. discuss trial testimony more thoroughly
Juries Responsibilities and Characteristics in Canada:
In Canada there are 2 fundamental characteristics of juries:
1. Representativeness: a jury composition that represents the community that represents
the community where the crime occurred. Representativeness is achieved through
Lacobucci made 17 recommendations to increase Aboriginal representation on juries,
such as health records and allowing those living living on reserves to volunteer for jury
2. Impartiality: (lack of bias), A characteristic of jurors who are unbiased.
Characteristics of impartiality centers on 3 issues:
-They must set aside any pre-existing biases, prejudice, or attitudes.
-Juror must ignore any information that is not part of the admissible evidence.
-It is also important that the juror have no connection to the defendant so that the
juror does not view the evidence subjectively or under any influence.
Threats to Impartiality is that any pretrial publicity , whether positive or negative can
and may influence the jurors decision making.
Threats to impartiality: it seems that any pretrial publicity, whether positive or
negative, can influence jurors decision making.
Keeping Jurors Impartial:

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1. Change of venue: moving a trial to a community other than one in which the crime
2. Adjournment: delaying the trial until sometime in the future. (this is, to allow enough
time to pass so that the biasing effect of any pretrial prejudicial information has
dissipated by the time the trial takes place)
3. Challenge for cause: an option to reject biased jurors.
Unique to Canada
a. Two persons selected from jury pool to become TRIERS
b. Third person evaluated as prospective juror
c. Lawyers/judge question the juror
d. TRIERS discuss and reach unanimous decision whether juror is impartial
e. Juror dismissed OR becomes juror and replaces one trier (who is dismissed) unless
the Crown or the defence uses peremptory challenge .
Studies consistently found:
-Unanimous = more likely to hang, take longer -No systematic effect on verdict
When trying to evaluate whether a challenge for cause is useful for identifying biased
individuals, a number of issues must be considered:
1. The process may be conducted in an open court, where the jury pool can hear the
questions the lawyers ask and response provided. Moreover, they can hear the answers
that lead to positive or negative decisions from the triers.
2. Prospective jurors may find it difficult to be honest when answering questions about
bias that may put them in an unflattering light, especially if the questioning is
conducted in open court.
3. Prospective jurors must be aware of their bias and how their biases may influence
their behaviors.
Jury Functions:
The main legal function of the jurors is to apply the law, as provided by the judge, to the
admissible evidence in the case to render a verdict of guilt or innocence. Four other functions
have been identified:
1. To use wisdom of 12 (rather than wisdom of one) to reach a verdict.
2. To act as the conscience of the community.
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