MP Murray Rankin: A step forward in support services for jurors
May 22nd, 2018 - 2:05pm
Today, Vice-Chair for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, Murray Rankin, and other members of the Committee presented a unanimous report calling on the federal government to work in collaboration with provinces and territories to improve jurors’ experience with the justice system.
Entitled Improving Support for Jurors in Canada, the report contains 11 recommendations intended to mitigate juror stress arising from jury service and to ensure that former jurors have access to psychological support services after their duty has ended. Recommendations include amending the secrecy rule provision of the Criminal Code to allow former jurors to discuss jury deliberations with mental health professionals once the trial is over and a daily allowance of at least $120 for the jurors’ service for the duration of the legal proceedings.
“In 2016, I was approached by former juror, Mark Farrant, who was suffering serious emotional trauma after serving on a jury. I’m delighted that our all-party committee has undertaken this comprehensive study,” said MP Murray Rankin. “Jurors are a vital part of our justice system and it is our responsibility to ensure they don’t suffer emotional or financial hardship just by fulfilling their civic duty.”
Rankin and Farrant held a press conference in Ottawa in May 2017 to draw attention to the plight of former jurors who didn’t have adequate support. As then NDP House Leader, Rankin worked with then NDP Justice Critic, Alistair MacGregor, to call for the creation of a national standard of support for Canadians serving on juries with the help of then NDP Justice Critic, Alistair MacGregor. One year later, the Justice Committee has done just that.
“I’m thrilled that MP Alistair MacGregor and I were able to help bring the issue to the fore. As parliamentarians, this is what we’re here to accomplish. We heard from a group of people brought forth an important issue and worked together to find solutions,” said Rankin.