Jury selection for Asp trial nearly completed

Selecting 16 people to sit on the jury for what could be one of the longest murder trials in Yukon history has been going on all week in a Whitehorse hotel. By Thursday afternoon, 14 jurors had been chosen.

Selecting 16 people to sit on the jury for what could be one of the longest murder trials in Yukon history has been going on all week in a Whitehorse hotel.

By Thursday afternoon, 14 jurors had been chosen.

Christina Marie Asp is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of Gordon Seybold.

The 63-year-old’s remains were found in the rubble of his torched Ibex Valley home in March 2008.

After about a year and a half of undercover, investigative work by numerous RCMP officers and detachments, Asp and co-accused Norman Larue were arrested in Alberta and charged.

Originally, the two were set to stand trial together but sickness and financing delayed that trial and the Crown eventually decided to try them separately.

It was decided Asp’s trial would be held first. It’s expected to run for at least two months.

It is always difficult to find enough jurors for a trial of this length. Not only do people find it hard to take the time from work, families and other commitments, but the court’s sheriff is also tasked with finding more jurors than the usual 12, in case a juror gets sick or is unable to carry on.

In Asp’s trial, the sheriff wants 14 jurors, with two alternates, to make a total of 16.

According to the territory’s Jury Act, an employer can’t punish an employee who is summoned, meaning they cannot cut any seniority, holiday pay or threaten their employment security in any way. But it is the employer’s choice whether or not to grant the leave for jury duty with or without pay, the act says.

But jurors do receive a daily stipend of $80 once they are selected. That amount was last amended with an order-in-council in 2007. There are also possibilities for meal, travel and accommodation rate stipends.

The sheriff randomly picks who to call for jury duty from “the list” which is typically the broadest list available, said Department of Justice spokesman Dan Cable.

The Jury Act points out electoral lists or any other government-owned lists as acceptable choices.

The common practice in the Yukon is to use the list of health-care beneficiaries, which totals around 35,000 – a comparable sum to the territory’s population, Cable said.

Jurors cannot be younger than 19 years. They must be Canadian citizens and they cannot have served more than 12 months jail time or have a physical or mental disability that may affect their duties as a juror. Politicians, including chiefs, are exempt, as well as RCMP officers, judges, lawyers, firefighters, corrections officers, postmasters, phone, radio and “telegraph” operators, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, and nurses.

For Asp’s trial, 400 people were initially contacted but only 167 responded. If people who are called for jury duty fail or refuse to show up, they can be fined $25 to $200.

If there are not enough jurors because too many have been excused or are unable to fulfill juror duties, the sheriff will simply keep randomly selecting names from the jury list until he is able to find the necessary number.

Twenty more people have been called in for selection on Friday, in hopes of finding the last two jurors, but selection will continue on Monday, before the trial begins, if the spots are not filled.

Larue, who has also been charged with arson, is expected to go to trial this fall. He has also elected for a trial by judge and jury.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read