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Supreme Court to review Ontario ruling that could cause multiple verdicts to be thrown out

Canada's highest court has agreed to review an Ontario ruling that could cause scores of criminal cases in that province to be thrown out over how changes to the jury selection process were applied.

Top court greenlights case on constitutionality of sweeping legal reforms brought in under Bill C-75

The Supreme Court of Canada has given the green light for an appeal and counter-appeal in the case, which centres on the constitutionality of sweeping legal reforms brought in under Bill C-75. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

Canada's highest court has agreed to review an Ontario ruling that could cause scores of criminal cases in that province to be thrown out over how changes to the jury selection process were applied.

The Supreme Court of Canada has given the green light for an appeal and counter-appeal in the case, which centres on the constitutionality of sweeping legal reforms brought in under Bill C-75.

In January, the Court of Appeal for Ontario unanimously upheld the constitutionality of the changes, which included scrapping so-called "peremptory challenges."

Peremptory challenges are a mechanism that allowed lawyers for either side to dismiss a certain number of prospective jurors without an explanation.

However, the appeal court found that anyone who chose to be tried by a jury before the new rules kicked in last September is entitled to proceed with peremptory challenges, even if the trial begins after that date.

As a result, many jury trials that unfolded in the time between the implementation of the new rules and the appeal court's ruling could potentially be overturned. 

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