Ontario’s Attorney General says come next year, anyone serving jury duty will be able to access free counselling services.
Yasir Naqvi announced Monday that starting in January, jurors will be able to call a designated phone number to get help whenever they need it. He says jurors in difficult trials face evidence that “could be quite horrific”.
While the Canadian Mental Health Association supports the effort, CEO of the Ontario Division Camille Quenneville issued a statement expressing that more needs to be done.
“Operational stress injuries (OSI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be developed for a myriad of reasons. The negative affect of a difficult trial can be felt by anyone participating in a legal proceeding and we are hopeful that over time we can ensure that all parties are protected from the harmful impact of OSIs and PTSD.”
The Juror Support Program was announced a day before Ontario’s Appeal Court hears the case of a woman who says she developed post-traumatic stress disorder after serving as a juror at the trial of Michael Rafferty, the man convicted in the murder of 8-year-old Tori Stafford of Woodstock.