Attorney General wants to look into developing better support for jurors in Ontario
Yasir Naqvi explains a draft regulation for public input that would prohibit the random and arbitrary collection of identifying information by police, referred to as carding or street checks, at Queen's Park in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. (The Canadian Press/Nathan Denette)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 4:16PM EDT
TORONTO -- Ontario's Attorney General says he intends to look into developing a better support system for jurors in the province.
Yasir Naqvi says he's concerned when he hears personal stories of jurors who have experienced trauma as a result of performing their civic duty.
He says he'll reach out to the judiciary and other partners in the justice system for a conversation on measures that can be put in place.
Naqvi's comments come as the Ontario Court of Appeal is set to hear a case next month of a woman who claims she developed post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of being a juror at the trial of Michael Rafferty.
Rafferty was convicted in May 2012 of kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder in the death of eight-year-old Victoria Stafford, of Woodstock, Ont.
The juror, who cannot be named, says she was brought face-to-face with Rafferty's horrific crimes, suffered psychological injury as a result and is seeking compensation as a victim of crime.
Naqvi noted that currently jurors who feel they require counselling can request a trial judge to order it.
But he said if there are shortcomings with the system, he wants to look at getting improvements.
"If I am hearing concerns through personal stories that that may not be the best way of providing those supports, I want to engage in a conversation with the judiciary, with other partners in the justice system to see what other better systems can be put in place," Naqvi said.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said it's clear that there needs to be "a broader conversation" on the issue.