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A juror recounts his experience at the trial of Marc-André Grenon

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar19,2024

Fourteen citizens spent more than a month living to the rhythm of the trial of murderer Marc-André Grenon as a member of the jury. These ordinary citizens were selected by chance and then required to serve the justice system. Radio-Canada met one of these jurors.

A juror recounts his experience at the trial of Marc-André Grenon< /p>Open in full screen mode

An illustration of the jury at the trial of Marc-André Grenon.


Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

“Happy” to have been chosen, the juror who agreed to grant us an interview takes us into his daily life at the courthouse.

The deliberation process must remain secret under the Criminal Code. No related element is therefore discussed in this interview.

Before being summoned for jury selection, had you ever set foot in a courthouse?

Yes . I had already been involved in a case that was more civil. In fact, he was a member of an organization who was suing the organization for being expelled.

Could you describe to me your state of mind when you were chosen to be part of the jury?

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I was happy. I've always loved legal shows, investigative shows, and detective shows. I always liked it.

It perhaps allowed me to set foot in this area, in this universe. I was very happy, very content. I put my identity aside. It is peers from society who are brought together to judge evidence. It's like a coat that we put on. I leave my identity aside and become the representative of the company.

Actually, were you aware that the trial was going to take place? x27;spread over more than a month and you were going to have to be available to the court throughout this period?

From the outset, we weren't. In fact, we found out during jury selection day on January 15. This is where the judge told us that the trial would last between five to six weeks. I was very determined. I had no problem with that aspect.

Initially, is there a court officer present specifically to inform you about your role and to explain to you how the proceedings will take place?

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">In fact, it is certain that we always had special constables who were with us to ensure our safety, that the whole process was legal and was strict. We always had two special constables with us throughout the trial. The same ones throughout the trial in fact. So, these special constables accompanied us at all times, outside the courthouse, because, on occasion, we went out to dinner at a restaurant. Some of my fellow jurors were smokers, so had to leave the building, given that it is a public building. They were always accompanied. One constable accompanied them to smoke while the other stayed with the rest of the jury.

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An illustration of judge François Huot who presided over the trial of Marc-André Grenon at the Chicoutimi courthouse.

It was always, always, always monitored. And when we left our deliberation room, we could not talk about the trial or anything that had been discussed during the day or during the trial. It was really very strict. Then, even when the door to the room was open, we couldn't talk when one of our jurors was in the toilet, we couldn't talk about the trial either. We really needed to all be on the same footing in terms of knowledge of the cause to ensure that the cause was ultimately fair. Otherwise, it was the judge who guided us through the entire process of performing our jury duty.

< strong>The trial was long. It was your duty to be there from start to finish. Could you tell me about the impact your experience has had on your personal and professional life?

Being single, I didn't really have to answer to anyone, but I know that my other fellow jurors had small adjustments to make with their families. This is very normal too. On the professional side, it is certain that I had to come to an agreement with my employer to be absent. There was no major impact on that side. And financially, we still had an amount allocated to us.

What was the daily schedule like?

We had to report to the courthouse by 9 a.m. . The hearing started at 9:30 a.m. We always had a break around 10:30 a.m., we resumed immediately afterwards. Then dinner was from 12:30 until 2 p.m. and ended around 4:30, I think.

It happened once that it overflowed more than that because there was a testimony that was ending.

Like We often see trial sequences in the cinema or on television, the public has an idea of ​​how it takes place in a courtroom. Is there a big difference between fiction and reality?

Yes, there is a very big difference and that is speed. The trial is very slow. And we understand, when we attend a trial, that the judge must ensure that the rules of law are respected, that the lawyers do not go too far, that the jury does not hear things that are not intended. he must not hear. The role of the jury is to ensure that the evidence is tangible. Does what the ministry presents hold up? Basically, that's it. So, it's very slow what we see in films, in TV series, let's say, it's sent directly to the essential. They take away a lot of things that are very slow.

I used to listen to the series CSIand the experts there were in Miami, Las Vegas and New York. We saw the murder. At the beginning, we saw the investigation taking its course, three days later, it was completed, the criminal was in prison, et cetera. This isn't how it works at all, so it's really delays at all stages.

So in fact, in the collection of evidence, in the legal process, lawyers go out of their way to avoid leading witnesses to divulge something that they do not say themselves so as not to not guide or influence the witnesses, it's very thorough, it's very strict. Then I tell you, there were interruptions. The jurors, we cannot hear everything because the rules of law that the judge discusses with the lawyers, very often, they can disclose things. So jurors are called out very frequently during the trial.

In a day, we could go out maybe 10 to 15 times, return to our room, and come back five minutes later. Sometimes the non-jury [discussions] dragged on, so we took a break or went to dinner, after that it was very long, but ultimately we understand why they do that. This is to ensure that the trial is fair for the accused. They take us out to settle legal issues and then we go back. There is a lot of in and out of the courtroom for jurors.

Has this experience changed your perception of the legal world?

Absolutely yes, it changed my perception a lot. I was not aware of the full extent of what was behind the judiciary. Very often, we see a little bit in the newspapers, we see that the jury has returned the verdict or the case is being appealed.

We don't see what exactly that entails. So yes, it has profoundly changed everything that the legal world can involve, in fact.

And from now on, will you follow the #x27;judicial news?

Ah yes, absolutely! I'll probably find it more interesting and I'll also know a little more about what's going on behind closed doors that we can't see.

Based on an interview with Frédéric Tremblay, host of It's never the same

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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