A few people from around Corner Brook found out last week that not showing up for jury selection can be costly.
Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador Justice George Murphy fined five of seven people $100 each on Jan. 15 for failing to appear for jury selection this past fall. The seven people, whose names cannot be published, were summon before the court under a violation of Section 38 or the province’s Jury Act.
The section states that if the person was not prevented by sickness or other reasonable cause from appearing and serving as a juror as required in the summons, that person is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to $1,000 or a term of imprisonment of up to six months, or to both the fine and imprisonment.
One by one the seven were called before Murphy and if they felt they had a reasonable cause were sworn in to give that as evidence.
It was then up to Murphy to decide if what they had to say was reasonable.
Four of the people, three men and a woman, had forgotten or mixed up the dates.
Murphy’s response was basically the same for all four, people may make honest mistakes or be forgetful, but that’s not a reasonable excuse.
And so he issued $100 fines to each of them.
The fifth person to be fined told the judge that he had wanted to serve on the jury and after getting the summons waited to get further confirmation of when he had to appear.
The judge said the man didn’t read the letter well enough to understand that was his notice.
The reasons that Murphy did accept as reasonable came from two women.
One assumed she was exempted because she was related to a sherrif’s officer.
While it was a mistaken belief, Murphy felt the woman truly believed it.
The other woman had all intentions of showing up on the day she was summonsed, but in the process of getting ready a family member experienced a medical crisis.