, seconded by the member for Victoria, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-417, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (disclosure of information by jurors).
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to introduce a private member's bill to amend section 649 of the Criminal Code.
Earlier this year, the justice committee, of which I am a member, undertook the first parliamentary study on juror supports. In the course of that study, the committee heard from jurors who, for doing nothing more than their civic duty, were exposed to horrific evidence, causing them stress, anxiety and PTSD. They said that one of the biggest impediments to getting the mental health treatment they required was section 649, which prohibits jurors, in all circumstances, for life from disclosing what took place in the course of juror deliberations.
This bill would change that by amending section 649 to provide a narrow exception, whereby jurors could disclose what took place in the course of juror deliberations, namely, when they are getting mental health treatment through a mental health professional who is sworn to confidentiality following the conclusion of a trial. This was unanimously supported by the justice committee and would go a long way to helping jurors who are suffering from PTSD and other mental health challenges arising from their jury service.
I urge the passage of this common sense bill.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)