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The Globe and Mail

Aboriginal juror shutout on trial in Ontario

The makeup of juries goes on trial before Ontario's top court this week as two killers fight their guilty verdicts.

The aboriginal men argue their rights were violated because on-reserve First Nations people were excluded from the juries that convicted them.

Their lawyers argue it is a systemic problem, that aboriginals have been shut out from juries for years.

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Last summer, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld a manslaughter conviction against Clifford Kokopenace, but put its decision on hold pending this week's hearing.

Also involved is Clare Spiers, an aboriginal with a long record of violent crime.

He was convicted of first-degree murder in Barrie, Ont., for kidnapping a woman and slitting her throat.

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