The defendant has been arraigned and the 12 jurors selected. Arraignmet is simply the formal procedure for reading the charges to the defendant, in the presence of the jury pool, and having the defendant enter his or her plea. In this case the defendant has pleaded not guilty to two charges – attempted murder and possession of a firearm without a licence.
After the arraignment the Crown and defence select 12 citizens to act as jurors. The jurors then, in a very real way, become the judges in the case. It will be their task, and theirs alone, to assess the evidence and decide upon a verdict.
There are a variety of theories about jury selection – who should be picked and who shouldn’t. Unlike in the United States, lawyers generally know very little about the potential jurors – usually, as in this case, only their names and occupations. Selecting a jury in these conditions usually involves a great deal of instinct and gut reaction. I’ve never subscribed to any particular theory of jury selection.
After lunch the Crown made his opening statement and called his first witness. Another difference between Canadian and American law – the defence does not normally open after the Crown, but rather before the defence calls it’s own evidence.
The Crown’s first witness was the doctor who removed the bullet from the complainant’s body. He testified that the bullet entered the complainant’s arm and traveled in a straight line before lodging in his shoulderblade, where it was removed. This evidence was fairly short and to the point. More evidence to come tomorrow.