Sunday 20 October 2019
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What She Said! with Christine Bentley & Kate Wheeler
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Choosing an unbiased jury | Marcy Segal

With concerns around choosing a jury in a case that has received as much media attention as the Luka Magnotta investigation, the justice system may need additional safeguards in place to deal with juror bias, Toronto criminal lawyer Marcy Segal tells SiriusXM radio’s What She Said!

Joining hosts Christine Bentley, Sharon Caddy and Kate Wheeler, she speaks about how publicity around a high-profile case may impact the jury-selection process.

Segal says there are always issues around dealing with juror bias, particularly in a case where so much information has been widely available before a trial begins.

“In a perfect world, we would not know any of this information until the trial starts, but it’s just not possible,” she says on the show.

Magnotta is charged with first-degree murder in the death of student Jun Lin in May 2012, says CTV News.

He is also accused of committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

Magnotta has pleaded not guilty to the charges and his trial is set to begin in September.

In addition to widespread international media coverage of the case and of Magnotta’s arrest in Europe, a documentary is set to air later this month before the trial.

Segal says that while there are always some potential jurors who don’t want to serve on a jury because of time away from their job or family, there are cases such as Magnotta that tend to elicit strong emotion and bias from potential jurors – and that’s a challenge that must be dealt with during the jury-selection process.

The lawyer also points out that the United States may have a more intensive process in place to filter out biased jurors, but notes that the law in Canada is developing to allow for an extension of the questions permitted to be asked of potential jurors in the selection process.

“There are some safeguards though I must say the number of questions that you can ask potential jurors is not as many compared to the U.S.,” she says.

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