GROUP CALLS FOR REFORM TO CANADIAN JURY SYSTEM

Sep 01, 2020

By Bob Komsic

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On the same day she and 11 others found Paul Bernardo guilty of murdering schoolgirls Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy, Tina Daenzer wants to see changes to the jury system in Canada.
She returned to the University Avenue courthouse on the 25-year anniversary to demand governments invest in jury duty.
What’s unacceptable is that compensation in Ontario is the same as it was then.
No pay for the first 10-days of service, $40-a-day after that and then $100-daily after day 49.
The province recently said it does not intend to raise the amount jurors are paid.
In that case, Daenzer says Ottawa should set aside that money and give it to the provinces for that purpose.
Daenzer is Chief Financial Officer of Canadian Juries Commission; a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the system.
CJC also wants jurors to receive mental health support.
Back in 1995, now retired judge Patrick LeSage; a former Ontario Superior Court Chief Justice, requested all jurors in the Bernardo case receive paid-for, post-trial counselling.
”We were lucky to have a judge who recognized our trauma,” said Daenzer.
”Many other jurors aren’t as lucky.”
Even with counselling and all these years later she still feels the effects.
”If I’m out in the evening and I have to go to my car in a parking lot.  I have my keys in my hand, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder.  I was never like that before.”
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