R. v. Kokopenace

2015 SCC 28

The accused in this case was an Aboriginal man from a First Nations reserve, convicted of manslaughter after a jury trial. He challenged his conviction based on the fact that there had been problems with inclusion of on-reserve Aboriginal residents on the jury roll in his district, with the result that the representativeness of his jury was questionable. The Court of Appeal held that while the accused had had a fair trial that his jury was not biased, the representativeness question meant that his s.11(d) and 11(f) Charter rights had been violated and ordered a new trial.

The majority of the Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal, setting aside the order for a new trial and reinstating his conviction. The Court held that representativeness goes to the process used in compiling the jury roll and not the make-up of the specific jury itself. Where jury roll compilation process provides a fair opportunity for a broad cross-section of society to participate – which process requires the use of random selection from lists representing broad cross-sections of society and jury notices being delivered to those randomly selected potential jurors – there is no violation of the Charter.

The Asper Centre intervened at the Ontario Court of Appeal and (jointly with the Womens’ Legal and Education Action Fund) at the Supreme Court of Canada.

SCC Reasons for Judgment

Read the David Asper comment on the decision here

Read the LEAF comment on the decision here

Asper Centre and LEAF Factum


Date Document
2014/02/27 Appellant – Her Majesty the Queen
2014/07/02 Respondent – Clifford Kokopenace
2014/07/17 Intervener – The Advocates’ Society
2014/07/28 Intervener – Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto
2014/07/30 Interveners – Native Womens’ Association of Canada and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
2014/07/30 Intervener – Nishnawbe Aski Nation
2014/08/29 Appellant – Her Majesty the Queen (reply)