The first piece of art installed at The McMurtry Gardens of Justice was Edwina Sandys’ Pillars of Justice in 2007. The statue, executed in steel, is composed of a 20-foot pediment supported by eleven columns fashioned into stylized masculine and feminine figures. It is meant to represent the right of a Canadian citizen to be tried by a jury of their peers.
The sculpture stands at forefront of the gardens, immediately before the entrance to the Superior Court of Justice, Criminal division, serving as a reminder of the pre-eminence of the trial by jury system in the Canadian system of justice. Trial by jury is meant to serve as a check and balance against over arching governmental power, ensuring that a plaintiff is never solely at the mercy of the government, but their fate is decided by the community as represented by twelve individuals. Jury trials also allow a country’s citizens to directly participate in government while giving them a voice in both criminal and civil justice systems.