WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg judge who put a tardy juror in jail for an afternoon has let her off with a warning.
The woman, identified only as juror 10, had been sitting in the sexual assault trial of Richard Rondeau.
Court was told the young woman had been late several times last week and didn’t arrive in time for the start of the trial on Wednesday morning.
With the agreement of the defence counsel and Crown prosecutor, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gerald Chartier discharged the juror and issued a warrant for her arrest. The trial continued without her.
The woman arrived at court later in the day and was taken into custody. She spent the afternoon in jail while the other 11 jurors determined Rondeau’s fate.
After the jury rendered its guilty verdict, the judge had the woman brought into the courtroom. She marched in wearing handcuffs and shackles and was placed in the prisoner’s box.
She immediately apologized to the court and the other jurors, explaining she had been up all night with a fever, severe cramps and vomiting and slept late.
When Chartier asked her why she was late several times last week, she said she had to take Winnipeg Transit to get to the courthouse and if she missed a bus, there was a long wait for another.
The judge said he could have found the woman in contempt of court, sent her back to jail and imposed a fine. But he accepted her explanation, warning her that she had to take greater responsibility for her actions.