INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
631(2.1) If the judge considers it advisable in the interests of justice to have one or two alternate jurors, the judge shall so order before the clerk of the court draws out the cards under subsection (3) or (3.1).
Section 631(2.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows judges to order the appointment of alternate jurors in criminal trials to ensure that there are enough jurors to complete a trial. When the clerk of the court draws out the cards under subsection (3) or (3.1), the judge must determine if it is advisable in the interests of justice to have one or two alternate jurors present. Alternate jurors are individuals who are selected along with the primary jurors, but who do not deliberate on the verdict unless another juror is unable to complete their duties for some reason. Alternate jurors are selected in the event that one or more of the regular jurors becomes unable to perform their duties for any reason. This may occur if a juror becomes ill, has a family emergency, or if there are concerns about impartiality or bias. The rationale behind the inclusion of alternate jurors is to ensure the integrity and fairness of the judicial process. Criminal trials are often complex and can last for weeks or months, making it important to ensure that all jurors are present and able to participate in deliberations until the conclusion of the trial. By having alternate jurors available, judges can ensure that the trial reaches its conclusion without being disrupted by the absence of a regular juror. In summary, Section 631(2.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows judges to order the appointment of alternate jurors to ensure that there are enough jurors to complete a trial. This ensures that the integrity and fairness of the judicial process are upheld and that trials can proceed without interruption or delay.
Section 631(2.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada grants the judge the discretion to order for the inclusion of alternate jurors in a criminal trial if they consider it to be in the interests of justice to do so. The inclusion of alternate jurors is an essential safeguard that serves to ensure that the trial process remains fair, impartial, and does not get disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances. Alternate jurors are individuals who attend the trial proceedings and listen to the evidence being presented, along with the original jurors. However, their role is to remain outside the deliberation process unless and until one or more of the original jurors are dismissed or become unable to continue serving in their capacity as a juror, for reasons such as illness or other unexpected events. In such cases, the alternate jurors are directed to step in to fill those vacancies and continue with the deliberation process with the remaining original jurors. The inclusion of alternate jurors is a common practice in criminal trials worldwide, and it serves several purposes that are vital to the proper functioning of the justice system. First and foremost, alternate jurors ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial and that the case is decided based on the evidence presented and not on the availability of jurors. If a juror becomes unable to continue serving, the inclusion of an alternate juror ensures that the trial can proceed without the loss of that juror's perspective. The inclusion of alternate jurors also helps maintain the integrity of the jury deliberation process. If one or more jurors are dismissed or become unable to serve, the deliberation process may have to begin again, causing undue delays and disrupting the proceedings. In such cases, having alternate jurors already present allows the court to continue the trial without any significant delay, thus ensuring that justice is served in a timely and efficient manner. Moreover, alternate jurors serve as an essential safeguard against the possibility of jurors being influenced by external factors during the trial. For instance, if one of the jurors falls ill or becomes incapacitated, the remaining jurors may be tempted to discuss the case outside of the court proceeding with the dismissed juror, which could adversely affect the deliberation process and the eventual outcome of the trial. The inclusion of alternate jurors minimizes the risk of external influence, as the alternate jurors remain outside the deliberation process until and unless they are needed. In conclusion, Section 631(2.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an essential safeguard to the trial process by allowing the judge to order the inclusion of alternate jurors. This provision ensures that the trial remains fair, impartial, and that the proceedings can continue without undue delays or disruptions. The inclusion of alternate jurors is a critical aspect of the justice system, which helps maintain public trust and confidence in the legal process while safeguarding the rights of defendants to a fair trial.
Section 631(2.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada allows judges to order alternate jurors in criminal trials if it is deemed in the interests of justice. This section provides strategic considerations that can be utilized by defense counsel and crown prosecutors to ensure a fair trial. One strategic consideration for defense counsel would be to request alternate jurors to be added in cases where multiple defendants are involved. This would provide a safety net in the event that one of the jurors becomes biased against their client. Similarly, if a complex case is expected to last for an extended period, defense counsel may request alternate jurors to account for the possibility that one of the jurors may become ill or unavailable, causing a mistrial. Conversely, crown prosecutors may instead request the use of alternate jurors to ensure that the jury is not swayed by the defense counsel's tactics. If the defense counsel seeks to prolong the trial or confuse the jurors, the prosecution may want to ensure that alternate jurors are available to offset any potential damage done by the defense counsel's tactics. Another strategic consideration would be to assess the demographics of the potential jurors and consider the likelihood of bias. In cases where racial or cultural tensions may play a role, it may be advisable to add an alternate juror who is representative of a particular demographic to ensure a fair and impartial trial. Strategic use of alternate jurors could also be employed in high-profile cases where media attention is prevalent. The potential for jurors to be swayed by external factors could be mitigated by the use of alternate jurors who have not been exposed to as much media coverage. Overall, the strategic use of alternate jurors can provide a safety net for defense counsel and prosecutors in criminal trials. It is important to recognize the benefits of using alternate jurors and assess their potential value in each specific case. Careful consideration and utilization of this section of the Criminal Code of Canada can lead to a fair and just trial for all parties involved.