Is Karen Goodman guilty of murder?
That is the question that the public will get to decide during a public awareness presentation of a staged criminal jury trial on Tuesday April 14, at 7 p.m.
Hosted by the Key City Theatre, the actors will be volunteers from the court registry staff, a couple of real sheriffs and local lawyers who will play the parts of judge, crown council, defence and witnesses.
WIth Mr. Justice Rico Strahl presiding, the scenario is as follows: A man—John Goodman—was found murdered outside his house from a gunshot wound to the head. A block away, a pistol was found that had fingerprints that were matched to his wife, Karen Goodman.
On the husband’s cell phone was a message from his wife that reads ‘I’ll kill you, you jerk.’
Karen will testify that she didn’t do it, and a witness will testify that she was with him at a local motel the night of the murder.
Members of the audience will have a chance to sit on the jury as the jury will be facing the audience. That will allow the audience to get the unusual opportunity to see and hear the jury deliberations.
“Five years ago a small group of local lawyers wrote, organized, and presented a Mock Jury Trial, in which judges, lawyers, and court staff conducted a trial before a Jury selected at random from the audience. The name of the performance has been ‘You Be The Jury,'” said Don Kawano, a lawyer with Rella & Paolini in Cranbrook.
“The new feature this year is that the audience will be able to see the Jury deliberating front and centre. This does not happen in real life because jury deliberations are held in strict secrecy. In addition, there will be some members of the jury who have been ‘hand picked’ and will have definite views as to the guilt or innocence of the accused.”
The event is part of Law Week, an event put on by lawyers all across Canada. Other locations have various events ranging from visits to court houses, meetings with Judges, public awareness booths and presentations in schools, police dog demonstrations, law debate competitions, all intended to give public information about our justice system.