Potential judges wearing face masks and keeping their distance outside the Fredericton Convention Center early Monday morning for the jury's first selection in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared.
The elected jury must determine whether Matthew Vincent Raymond is eligible for trial, as he was found unfit by a previous jury last fall.
That jury could stay for the September 15th criminal case if Raymond chooses to keep them.
Raymond is charged with four first degree murders in the Const deaths. Robb Costello, Const. Sara Burns, Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright. They were killed on the north side of Fredericton in the summer of 2018.
Potential judges must wear face protection
Once the potential jurors were registered, they registered in the largest room in the convention center. There were chairs two meters apart with a numbered poster and a bottle of water underneath.
When moving around the convention center, potential jurors must wear face shields provided by the court. However, once they are seated, they can be taken off.
Judge Larry Landry said he understood the jury selection process was different, but the obligation was still the same.
Many cases have been delayed by COVID-19 and "we're trying to get them back on track," he said.
The jury selection will take place at the Fredericton Convention Center to maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Daniel McHardie / CBC)
"This court must do everything possible to ensure that the defendants in Canada continue to conduct fair trials without undue delay."
The court has moved to the convention center to maintain physical distance. It is the largest venue the court could find in the capital of New Brunswick. By far the largest makeshift courtroom can hold around 150 people.
Last week, the court also conducted a pre-trial investigation for anyone who may have an excuse for not being on that jury. This would minimize the number of people in the makeshift courtroom at the same time.
Publication ban in force
The suitability to stand in trial deals with the state of mind of the accused in the present moment. It is separate from the timing of an alleged crime.
If Raymond is found fit, a criminal case will be scheduled for September 15th.
The fitness listening is expected to take up to two days. The criminal proceedings last four to six weeks.
Landry also ordered a publication ban for the jury selection process that week.