NEWS
05/21/2015 09:59 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Supreme Court rules in Ontario case on lack of aboriginals on juries

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the manslaughter conviction of an Ontario aboriginal man should not be overturned because of a lack of aboriginal jurors.By a 5-2 margin, the high court found that a northern Ontario community made reasonable efforts to ensure the jury in a manslaughter case had adequate aboriginal representation.The ruling overturns the 2011 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that found the absence of aboriginals on the jury violated Clifford Kokopenace's constitutional rights, and threw out his 2008 conviction.Kokopenace was convicted in 2008 of stabbing a friend to death on the Grassy Narrows reserve in northwestern Ontario.Kokopenace's Kenora district jury was selected from a panel of 175 potential jurors, only eight of whom were on-reserve residents, but none of those made it on to the jury.The high court's ruling restores Kokopenace's original conviction.