I’ve never been asked to sit on a jury in my life. If a citizen is summoned for jury duty and doesn’t respond, the sheriff’s office investigates to find out why and it’s possible a person could be charged and fined for not doing their civic duty because failure to comply is an offence. An article in Friday’s paper was about how a group of potential jurors were in a Regina courtroom to receive a scolding from a judge because they hadn’t attended court as required to sit on a jury.
A Court of Queen’s Bench judge who has decades of trial experience as a judge and lawyer says it is a concern that there seems to be a developing apathy for people to not respond. I loved the quote from a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge who refers to the modern age as a “flabby, sad generation” consisting of numerous people who fail to vote or perform jury duty. A person can apply to be relieved of jury duty and the request can be granted under certain circumstances. In the case of the Regina no-shows who were brought to court, none had made such a request. The judges believe the problem is growing and I’m not surprised. Just look at voter turnout at election time. It would be hard to utilize technology to perform jury duty from the couch in the family room but they can probably figure out a way for us to vote without going to a polling station. Then they can make it mandatory to vote just like in Australia and the federal liberals could then say they kind of, sort of, in a way kept an election promise.