"Ottawa lawyer Michael A. Johnston, in a paper published last week, argues that up 10 per cent of Canadians are being unfairly barred from jury duty because they have a criminal record.
In Ontario, for example, citizens are ineligible to serve as jurors if they have been convicted of a crime prosecuted by indictment, unless they have been pardoned. Saskatchewan is the only province that does not exclude those with a criminal record from sitting on a jury.
At the federal level, the Criminal Code denies jury duty to anyone convicted of a crime for which they served more than 12 months.
As Johnston points out, a criminal record does not preclude someone from voting, seeking office, practicing law, becoming a judge, paying taxes or being conscripted into fighting in wars.
Surely the value of a juror lies in the present, not what he or she may have done in the past."