A Canadian woman, 99 years of age, could be facing arrest and criminal charges due to failure to appear for jury duty, according to reports. Marion Lenko reportedly received her jury summons at a Quebec senior care home and her son-in-law Edward Richuk dismissed it, according to The Daily Caller.
“When I first received the letter, I thought it was a joke,” he said according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company. “Then this week, I received a letter from the justice ministry saying that she has to appear on the 31st of January in court or procedures will be taken against her.”
The CBC reported that Lenko, as a woman of extremely advanced age is bedridden, has hearing loss, and difficulty conversing. When a second notice appeared at Richuk’s home in December outside Montreal, it probably seemed that the joke was over.
According to the outlet, Richuk doesn’t have power of attorney for Lenko and his wife has passed away. He told reporters that he emailed her son in Florida regarding the jury summons, but her son did not request an exemption for his mother. Richuk has kept in touch with his mother-in-law because he’s known her since 1972 but has no ability to help, the nearest person with power of attorney is her son almost 1,500 miles away.
“Then this week, I received a letter from the justice ministry saying that she has to appear on the 31st of January in court or procedures will be taken against her,” Richuk told CBC reporters.
He told them he was stuck in the middle and doesn’t know what to do next.
A spokesman for the Quebec Ministry of Justice, Isabelle Boily, told the outlet that a person may be disqualified from jury duty if there may be circumstances that prevent them from serving.
“If so, it is possible to request an exemption or postponement of participation by completing the form received with the notice,” Boily wrote in an email. But there’s a catch, “This form must be sent to the sheriff with the supporting documents within 20 days of receiving the notice.” However, according to the text of the summons, people over 65 can request an exemption by calling the Sheriff’s office within twenty days.
Reportedly Richuk attempted to call in unsuccessfully, greeted by an automated system with no option available.
Eric Sutton, a criminal defense attorney who spoke to CBC said, “From what I understand, this family tried to phone and to no avail.”
He added, “Now she’s facing this fear of possibly being fined or imprisoned. I saw it in the paperwork. That’s pretty tough medicine for a 99-year-old woman who is hard of hearing. Shameful.”
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Author: Matthew Holloway
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