To help contain the spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench is temporarily suspending all upcoming jury trials and jury selection. This suspension is effective immediately until May 31, 2020 or further notice from the Court; and applies to all jury trials and jury selections that have not yet commenced in Court.
Yesterday, the Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health recommended public gatherings of 250 people be canceled and any event with more than 50 attendees that involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors or other high-risk populations. Other provinces are also suspending jury trials and jury selection, including provinces with fewer confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. The suspension of jury trials and jury selection enables all Albertans to take effective social distancing measures.
Jury Summons for Jury Selection
Members of the public who have received a jury summons requiring them to come to Court for jury selection between today and May 31, 2020 and who are not presently sitting on a case, are released from that summons.Jurors presently participating in a jury trial, are required to report to Court as usual. Any Counsel or juror exhibiting signs of fever, cough or flu-like symptoms should contact the Court immediately to seek further instructions from the judge presiding over their case.
Re-Elections and Re-Scheduling
Defence Counsel/self-represented accused who have a jury trial scheduled between today and May 31st, 2020, may, with the consent of the Crown on their Notice of Re-election, choose to re-elect to proceed by way of a judge-alone trial. To do so, they are required to email the Criminal Court Coordinator a copy of their filed Notice of Re-election.
If a re-election to judge alone is not made, Counsel with or without a filed Designation of Counsel and self-represented accused are required to contact the Criminal Court Coordinator in the location in which the trial is set to proceed to select a new trial date. Counsel and all accused are required to attend Queen's Bench Appearance Court/Arraignment Court (by CCTV if accused is in custody) on a date designated by the Criminal Court Coordinator in advance of the scheduled jury trial date to confirm the new trial date. Pending further notice, if arrangements are not made with the Criminal Court Coordinator in advance of the jury trial date to adjourn the trial, all accused are required to attend Court on their trial date, failing which a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
Anyone attending court or visiting a courthouse in the province is encouraged to practice social distancing and hand washing/touching hygiene, following the tips available at: https://www.alberta.ca/coronavirus-info-for-albertans.