Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Burden of Isolation: Juror with PTSD Urges Triple-Murder Jury to Get Help

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Burden of Isolation: Juror with PTSD Urges Triple-Murder Jury to Get Help

Article excerpt

Juror with PTSD urges jury to get help

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CALGARY - Mark Farrant has a good idea of what jurors are going through after they sat through a recent triple-murder trial's disturbing testimony about how the victims were killed and disposed of.

Farrant, who is from Toronto, spent five months at the 2014 trial of Farshad Badakhshan, who was ultimately convicted of murdering his 23-year-old girlfriend, Carina Petrache.

Farrant was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has become an outspoken advocate for the need to provide counselling for jurors hearing horrific cases.

"One of the burdens of being a juror is the isolation you have," Farrant said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"A juror is the best judge of their own mental health and their own state," he said. "With some jurors it may take longer if they're feeling negative impacts."

Farrant said when his jury duty was over, he felt partially relieved and as if he had just walked out of a vacuum. He expected there would be some sort of debrief from the court: orders on what he could discuss or a list of counsellors available to help him cope. But that didn't happen.

Nobody should be forced to suffer in silence, he said.

"If they're feeling like they need to talk to somebody after the trial has concluded, there shouldn't be any negativity about that. They shouldn't feel like it's a continued burden for them, like it's their job to feel and just hold those emotions inside," Farrant said.

"Some people might feel ...it's their burden to suffer alongside with the families. That's not the case."

Jurors in Calgary who recently convicted Douglas Garland of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of a couple and their five-year-old grandson were subjected to evidence that included graphic and gruesome photos, videos and exhibits which prompted the judge to express concern about the stress they were put under.

"High-profile cases like this one have doubtless involved additional sources of stress due to the length of the trial, the significant media and public interest in this case and, most particularly, the disturbing evidence that was introduced," Justice David Gates told the jury after testimony had ended. …

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