Coronavirus: New jury trials, selection postponed in Toronto, Brampton due to COVID-19 numbers

TORONTO – The start of new jury trials is being pushed back in several Ontario cities due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The Superior Court of Justice says jury selection and new jury trials were set to resume in Toronto and Brampton, Ont., next week but will now be put off until at least Nov. 30 as a result of the deteriorating public health situation.

It says jury selection and new jury trials are also suspended in Milton, Ont., and Orangeville, Ont., since jury selection for those locations was taking place at the Pearson convention centre in Brampton.

Read more: Jury trials set to resume in several Ontario cities

The court says jury trials already underway can continue, however, subject to the decision of the trial judge . Toronto and Brampton are currently seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and local public health authorities have announced additional measures meant to curb the spread of the virus.

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Ottawa, which has recently seen improvements in COVID-19 case numbers, was allowed to resume selection of jurors and jury hearings this week.

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Jury selection brings together large groups of prospective jurors, which raises concerns about the ability to maintain proper physical distancing and other health measures.

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The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the Superior Court to suspend or adjourn all criminal and civil matters for months earlier this year, with courthouses gradually reopening over the summer.

Many matters have been taking place remotely through phone and video conferencing.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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