September 22, 2017

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Court will decide if FP reporter, juror in contempt

Although it didn't form part of its decision to overturn Mark Grant's conviction, the Court of Appeal says, it will have to be decided whether a juror's post-trial comments, which were published in a book, constituted a breach of juror-secrecy laws.

Defence lawyers claimed comments from an unidentified juror published in Free Press justice reporter Mike McIntyre's book on the Derksen case showed an apprehension of bias towards the accused and tainted the verdict.

Justice Michel Monnin wrote it wasn't necessary, given his other legal findings on Grant's appeal, to decide the bias issue.

"It should, however, be noted that both the juror's and the journalist's conduct may well be in breach of the jury secrecy rule: the member of the jury for disclosing information and the journalist for aiding and abetting the juror," Monnin wrote.

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Although it didn't form part of its decision to overturn Mark Grant's conviction, the Court of Appeal says, it will have to be decided whether a juror's post-trial comments, which were published in a book, constituted a breach of juror-secrecy laws.

Defence lawyers claimed comments from an unidentified juror published in Free Press justice reporter Mike McIntyre's book on the Derksen case showed an apprehension of bias towards the accused and tainted the verdict.

Justice Michel Monnin wrote it wasn't necessary, given his other legal findings on Grant's appeal, to decide the bias issue.

"It should, however, be noted that both the juror's and the journalist's conduct may well be in breach of the jury secrecy rule: the member of the jury for disclosing information and the journalist for aiding and abetting the juror," Monnin wrote.

"In the end, once the appeal process will have run its course... it will have to be decided whether or not the conduct of this member of the jury and the journalist in question was contemptuous, a breach of a duty to respect the jury-secrecy rule or an offence under the Jury Act," said Monnin.

 

— James Turner

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