Manslaughter conviction overturned due to lack of First Nation jurors

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has just released a judgment that could affect trials and inquests across the province.

The ruling states that jury rolls have failed to represent the aboriginal population and excluded First Nations from the justice system.

The judgment specifcally sets aside a manslaughter conviction of a northwestern Ontario man and orders a new trial.

It says the jury that convicted Clifford Kokopenance in Kenora in 2008 did not include fair representation.

The court ruled that the province had long known of the problem of aboriginal under-representation on juries but did little to address the issue. It also ordered a new trial for Kokopenace, who was convicted in 2008 of stabbing a friend to death on the Grassy Narrows reserve in northwestern Ontario.

The jury had no aboriginals on the panel.

The Appeal Court had already upheld the manslaughter conviction as reasonable, but put the ruling on hold pending the outcome of the constitutional fight.

See ruling attached below.

[ [ [['xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx', 11]], '27013743', '0' ], [ [['keyword', 9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999]], 'videoID', '1', 'overwrite-pre-description', 'overwrite-link-string', 'overwrite-link-url' ] ]