Case Analysis : V. Williams

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1. Name of Case & Citation: R. v. Williams [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1128 CanLII 782 (SCC) 2. Type and Level of Case: The case was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on appeal by the accused on decision of the Court of Appeal of British Columbia for dismissing a motion to challenge the potential jurors for cause. 3. Facts: a. The accused was an aboriginal, who pleaded not guilty and elected a trial by judge and jury. He claimed to have not committed the robbery but another aboriginal individual did. b. The Criminal Code section 638 grants the Crown and the prosecutor on behalf of the accused the right to challenge potential jurors for cause on grounds of impartiality and the judge should permit challenge for cause if there is reasonable belief of juror partiality. c. During the first trial, the accused was permitted to ask the potential jurors for racial bias. The trial judge Hutchison J. allowed him to ask the potential jurors two questions: i. the fact that the accused is an aboriginal would it affect your impartiality? ii. would knowing the interracial aspect of the case affect your impartiality? The Crown’s application for a mistrial on basis of procedural errors and publicity of the jury selection process was granted. d. On the second trial, Judge Esson C.J. recognised the possibility of bias against the accused by the potential jurors however, there is no realistic possibility that they are unable to set aside the bias and be impartial. The judge held that a supposed
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