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Canada Potential jurors in Montreal murder trial being vetted for racial bias

07:05  11 january  2018
07:05  11 january  2018 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Closing arguments resume at Lac-Megantic trial

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Potential jurors for a murder trial set to begin soon at the Montreal courthouse were asked a delicate question by lawyers on Wednesday. The case involves Kwasi Alfred Benjamin, 32, who was charged in July 2015 with the murder of Nellie Angutiguluk, a 29-year-old Inuk woman originally from Nunavik.

The process where potential jurors are vetted for a potential bias is becoming more common at the Montreal courthouse. Stober asked the potential jurors to not be offended if their peers decided they appeared to be partial.

011018-1004_city_court_delays_3700© Dario Ayala 011018-1004_city_court_delays_3700

Potential jurors for a murder trial set to begin soon at the Montreal courthouse were asked a delicate question by lawyers on Wednesday.

The case involves Kwasi Alfred Benjamin, 32, who was charged in July 2015 with the murder of Nellie Angutiguluk, a 29-year-old Inuk woman originally from Nunavik. She was found dead on May 18, 2015, in Côte-des-Neiges. Benjamin is charged with second-degree murder.

As jury selection began Wednesday, defence lawyer Paul Skolnik asked each potential juror a question before they were put through the standard vetting procedure.

Accused killers sought death benefits weeks after killing, court told

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Potential jurors in Montreal murder trial being vetted for racial bias . CRARR backs call for public consultations on systemic racism Man linked to Hells Angels affiliate gang gets two-year prison term.

“Would your ability to judge the case based on the evidence and without prejudice or bias be affected by the fact the accused, Kwasi Alfred Benjamin, is black and the deceased, Nellie Angutiguluk, was Aboriginal?” Skolnik asked each potential juror. The first few people put through the process said without hesitation that race would not affect their ability to judge the case purely on the evidence.

Superior Court Justice Michael Stober, the presiding judge in the trial, assigned two people who were in the jury pool to decide whether they believed the others appeared to be impartial or not. If one of the two decided the potential juror might be partial, the person was excused. It took less than five minutes for the first juror to be chosen.

The process where potential jurors are vetted for a potential bias is becoming more common at the Montreal courthouse. Stober asked the potential jurors to not be offended if their peers decided they appeared to be partial.

“Don’t take this as a statement on your character or integrity. It is a normal part of jury trials,” Stober said.

The judge wanted a total of 14 people selected to the jury, including two alternates who will be available in case any of the first 12 ask to be excused before the trial begins hearing evidence on Monday. By 4 p.m., eight members of the jury were selected.

pcherry@postmedia.com

Public urination led to fatal stabbing in Liberty Village, trial told .
A stranger repeatedly plunged a buck knife blade into Mike Pimentel as the two men brawled in Liberty Village on New Year’s Eve six years ago, an Ontario Superior Court jury has heard.Shawn Poirier, whose second-degree murder trial began Monday, has pleaded not guilty to the Jan. 1, 2012 slaying.After drinking at a party, Pimentel was walking back alone to a friend’s condo after 2 a.m. when he encountered Poirier and his then-girlfriend, Sascha Harten, prosecutor Sarah De Filippis told the jury as the Crown opened its case. The 24-year-old started yelling at Harten because she was urinating on the street.

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