Ontario appeals manslaughter ruling involving First Nations man
The province is seeking to appeal a landmark court decision involving a First Nations man from northwestern Ontario.
In a split decision last summer, the Ontario Court of Appeal quashed a manslaughter conviction and ordered a new trial for Clifford Kokopenace, after finding that his rights were violated because aboriginal people were not properly represented on jury rolls.
The lawyer for Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Julian Falconer calls the new appeal a "difficult pill to swallow."
"Now NAN has to defend its position in the Supreme Court of Canada, has to expend resources by way of energy and money,” Falconer said.
He said the organization is now "basically doing battle over the validity of their concerns that the system has simply failed them in ensuring fair juries and ensuring real engagement in the justice system."
In an emailed statement to CBC News, the Ministry of the Attorney General said its position is the Appeal Court erred in its understanding of the concept of “representativeness.” But it added that it still agrees there is much to be done to ensure First Nations people are properly represented on jury rolls.
"We believe the ruling is a matter of national importance as the majority's conclusions could affect all jury trials in Canada … We are looking for the benefit of clarity from the [Supreme] court on this issue."
See the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling from June 14 below: