Annapolis County (N.S.). Grand Jury

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Annapolis County (N.S.). Grand Jury

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        The grand jury was one of the institutions of customary law whose existence, although amended and altered by provincial legislation, was based on practice established in England. The Annapolis County Grand Jury was established when the county was created in 1759. The grand jury was chosen by lot from lists of qualified property owners prepared by a committee of the Court of General Sessions. Sitting for a year, the jury nominated individuals for the Sessions to consider for appointment to local offices; prepared financial estimates for county government; inspected the accounts of expenditures; determined the annual road work and the establishment of new roads; and claimed the right make presentations to the Sessions on topics of public interest. The grand jury also acted in a judicial capacity to determine whether sufficient evidence existed for an accused to be placed on trial by the Supreme Court. Half of the grand jury, or 12 of the 24, were required to concur, otherwise no bill was returned and the criminal case did not proceed to trial. In 1879 the advent of elective municipal government ended the administrative function of the grand jury. Although terms of jurors, their numbers, qualifications and method of appointment changed over time, the judicial function persisted until 1979 when amendments to the Jury Act abolished the grand jury


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