Criminal defence lawyers need to be included in mental health conversation

Anyone who spends time in Canada’s criminal courts can tell you it is nothing like you see on television. Rarely are there Matlock moments where a case is solved with one well-timed question. There is drama and excitement in court but this is usually broken up by long periods of dull procedural and legal argument. But television gets one thing right – the evidence presented in court can often be gruesome and disturbing.  

The impact of graphic courtroom evidence was made plain last week at the House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights. The committee is studying the toll that this type of evidence can take on the mental health of jurors.

The committee heard evidence from a juror in a trial that involved the murder of a young woman by her boyfriend. She was stabbed 25 times and set on fire. The accused in that

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