Jurors who have been traumatized by their participation in a trial, now have the option to receive help through a toll-free number. They have up to eight free sessions that can be conducted in person, over the phone, by email, or video conference.
In an article by The Star, they addressed how a juror might be affected by participating in court proceedings and used the Tim Bosma trial as their main example. This was a horrific trial, and what they jury was put through is one of many instances that successfully justify why this service should be available. Trials of that extent can take a huge toll on its jurors. In attendance during this announcement in the Hamilton courthouse where the Tim Bosma trial took place, was a former juror Mark Farrant who had gone public about his PTSD, after having served as a juror for a murder trial that was 4 months long back in 2014.
This is a government program, and is being financed through their existing budget. The number for the service is 1-844-JUROR-ON (1-844-587-6766). When you call this number you must ask to be transferred to counselling assistance. Jurors requiring assistance can contact this service when they need it, they are not restricted after the trial is complete. If jurors require assistance during the trial, they also have the option to ask the judge in the courtroom, and they will be able to receive a judge’s order to have counselling paid for by the province.
When Mr. Farrant served as a juror, he did not have access to this service. Before this service, people had to look for assistance on their own. Farrant recalled having to wait a long period of time before he found a proper clinician who could assist with his PTSD. Through his recollections of placing many phone calls and dealing with a system that was not equipped to look after jurors or deal with their struggles after a trial, he is grateful that this system is now in place to help jurors in the future, and hopefully influence other provinces to look at our model and implement it.
This is a step in the right direction. Mental health is something that can go unnoticed, especially if the person suffering from a mental health issue does not reach out for assistance. For Ontario jurors during or after a trial, it can be difficult to seek help. This service is fast and easy, allowing for distressed Ontarians to seek assistance immediately after a trial. If you have served as a juror and believe you may need some assistance, please contact the number in this article to be connected with a counselor.
At On The Record (OTR) each of our 8 boardrooms are spacious allowing for a video camera to be set up anywhere in the room or on the table. If you are in need of a room for your next meeting, please visit our website to book a room, or give us a call at (289) 638-2020.