Federal legislation is expected to be introduced today that will change the way people are selected for juries. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Liberals set to reform jury selection process following Colten Boushie case

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is expected to introduce legislation today aimed at overhauling the criminal justice system, a measure that will make good on its promise to change the way people are selected to sit on juries.

A number of visibly Indigenous people were excluded from the jury that last month acquitted Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley, 56, in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, 22, a member of the Red Pheasant First Nation.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is tabling a massive bill that will include proposed reforms to the process, as well as other measures aimed at tackling court backlogs plaguing the criminal justice system, including by restricting the use of preliminary inquiries.

The bill is also expected to address a Liberal campaign promise to crack down on intimate partner violence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tasked Wilson-Raybould with reviewing changes to the criminal justice system and sentencing reforms the previous Conservative government brought in as part of its tough-on-crime agenda, including the impact on Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized groups.

That effort took on an increased sense of urgency in July 2016, when the Supreme Court imposed strict new limits on how long a case could take to make its way through the system. More than 200 criminal cases across the country were tossed out due to unreasonable delays within a year.

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