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What it’s like to be sequestered as a juror on the Gerald Stanley murder trial
The Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford, Sask., is shown here Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, on the first day of evidence at the trial of Gerald Stanley (not pictured). THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
Published Thursday, February 8, 2018 9:46PM CST
A jury of seven women and five men are tasked with deciding the verdict in the Gerald Stanley second-degree murder trial.
Stanley has pleaded not guilty in the August 2016 death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie.
- For a recap: Stanley jury begins deliberations; judge outlines murder, manslaughter, acquittal options
The jury deliberates in a room in Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford and breaks for meals, unless they choose to continue deliberating through meal times. The jury will typically begin deliberating at 9 a.m. and work until around 9 p.m.
The jury can ask a question, or a request, of the courts by writing a note to the judge. For example, about four hours into deliberations Thursday the jury requested to hear part of Sheldon Stanley’s and Gerald Stanley’s testimonies again.
The jury asked to hear the portion of Sheldon’s testimony from when he came out of the house — after he says he heard gunshots and saw his dad, standing by the SUV Boushie was shot in, holding a gun and clip — and the part of Stanley’s testimony from when he fired the first shot and onward. Court heard three shots were fired and one killed Boushie.
When jurors retire for the night, they stay in hotel rooms in which TVs and alarm clocks are removed. A court sheriff wakes the jurors up each morning. The jurors are also not allowed to access their phones or newspapers.
In the jury room, all the exhibits, including the Tokarev handgun that fired the fatal shot, are accessible for the jury to assess.
Anything said in the courtroom while the jury isn’t present can’t be reported until the jury is sequestered.
The following list is some of what the jury, which has been sequestered since Thursday afternoon, didn’t hear during the trial:
-Kiora Wuttunee, Boushie’s girlfriend at the time, was set to testify as a Crown witness. She was present at court on Jan. 31 but didn’t show up to testify the following day. A standard bench warrant was issued for her arrest. In the end, the Crown excused her from testifying and the arrest warrant was dropped.
-Defence lawyer Scott Spencer was denied entering a Reddit thread on firearms as an exhibit. He wanted a witness to discuss the documents but both the Crown and Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Martel Popescul, who’s presiding over the trial, took issue with entering information from the Internet by anonymous authors as evidence. Popescul said there are many helpful things on the Internet, but also lots of “garbage.”
-On two occasions, Popescul had to remind members of the gallery not to react to testimony by making comments, noises and whispering. He said in his time as a trial judge he’s never had to ask a gallery to not make comments after a complaint from the jury.