A juror is speaking about the impact of sitting on the disturbing Goforth trial a year ago.
Tammy and Kevin Goforth were convicted of killing a young girl in their care and injuring her younger sister.
The jury in the January 2016 trial heard about and saw pictures and other images of the girls bruised, emaciated and malnourished bodies.
“It was harder to sleep, I started having nightmares, I started distancing myself from the people I loved,” Hannah Dillon explained to David Kirton on Saskatchewan Afternoon.
“It took a while for to start being able to talk about the things I was thinking about and the things I was dealing with every day because of the trial.”
Dillon went home each night of the three-week long trial but, per the jury rules, she was unable to discuss what she was seeing and hearing with her boyfriend.
“I would sit on the couch and cry all the emotions out and he would just hold me and talk to me and then we (would) just play a video game and watch a movie or listen to some music to calm me down. That is all we could do,” Dillon said, her voice quivering.
Dillon sought and privately paid for counselling to help her deal with the everyday anxiety she still faces as a result of the trial.
But she argues help for jury members, both during and after trials, should be made available through the court or justice system.
“It is impossible for the juror to deal with this alone, there needs to be help for them,” Dillon said. “There are mental health services for people but there is an extremely long waiting list.”
An emailed statement from the Ministry of Justice confirms post-trial support is not offered, but the jury system is currently under review.
“This includes a look at what services would be helpful for jurors in traumatic cases. We are also reviewing approached in other provinces, particularly Alberta and Ontario,” the statement said.
However, the review could take up to two years to complete, which is little comfort for someone in Dillon’s position.
“It is very difficult to deal with in everyday life.”