The judge asks the jury to provide a last-ditch effort to agree

News 16 January, 2018
  • Photo courtesy Sûreté du Québec

    Caroline Lepage

    On Tuesday 16 January 2018 14:12

    On Tuesday 16 January 2018 14:15

    Look at this article

    SHERBROOKE | The judge asked the jury one last effort at the trial of the three ex-employees of the MMA accused of criminal negligence causing 47 dead after he had announced yesterday to be in a deadlock.

    On the sixth day of deliberations, the jury of eight men and four women, announced, on Tuesday, to be in a dead end.

    “What happens if we do not come to a unanimous verdict ? “, has asked the jury to the judge Gaetan Dumas, who presides over the trial of Thomas Harding, Richard Labrie and Jean Demaître, accused of criminal negligence causing the death of the 47 victims of the tragedy of Lac-Mégantic.

    The judge Dumas has urged the 12 jurors, encouraging them to continue their efforts to come to a verdict just about the three accused. He was invited to demonstrate openness and flexibility in relation to the arguments of other members, without surrendering their convictions are sincere.

    “May you continue to hear from you “, he communicated.

    He recalled that a unanimous verdict is desirable, but not mandatory.

    “There is no shame to the impasse “, he expressed.

    If the consensus proves impossible, the judge has raised the possibility of dissolving the jury. However, it does not exercise this power lightly.

    Verdict to the piece

    Before being sequestered, the jury was instructed to analyze the evidence separately for each defendant as if it were three separate lawsuits. The process would end when it would have determined the fate of each.

    In a discussion outside the jury, the judge Dumas has suggested, on Tuesday, to offer members the opportunity to render a verdict to the room, or for each defendant to which the jury are unanimous, even if there is no consensus for the three.

    The counsel for the Crown agreed to this proposal, on which the defense lawyers wish to think before you accept it.

    According to Me Charles Shearson, the lawyer for Thomas Harding, the exhortation, normally occurs only once in a trial.

    In this case, his client and himself were anxious that the process is completed, considering that the trial lasted four months and thirty witnesses have been heard.

    “This is never desirable to have a deadlock “, he commented.

    New trial ?

    According to Me Shearson, the decision to dissolve the jury would abort the trial for the accused persons who have not received unanimous verdict. They may be required to undergo a new trial.

    The lawyer Richard Labrie, Guy Poupart, has cited the example of the second trial in Norbourg, where the jury had failed to reach a unanimous verdict for any of the five accused. In this case, the Crown had decided to drop the charges brought against him.