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giftedviz.com February 25, 2018


From day one: A timeline of Gerald Stanley's trial

12 February 2018, 01:11 | Darnell Patrick

No evidence Sask. farmer pulled trigger, defence argues in murder trial

Debbie Baptiste

In Ontario, we are headed toward the fifth anniversary of a report on the under representation of Indigenous people on juries by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci.

"I'm really sorry to the family that they lost a young man like that...."

Throughout Stanley's trial, jurors have been able to go home at the end of the day. Court heard Stanley fired three shots after an SUV pulled into his farmyard near Biggar, Sask., the night of August 9, 2016 and that the death was accidental.

He said the shot that killed Boushie occurred when he reached into the vehicle to take the keys out of the ignition and his gun "just went off". The all-white jury found Stanley, 56, not guilty of second-degree murder.

For the past 17 months, the case had been hotly debated in Battleford, stirring deep feelings about the treatment - past and present - of the province's indigenous population.

"As Indigenous people, we give each other support when we're hurting".

According to Stanley's testimony, which the jury heard Monday, Boushie and a group of friends arrived at his farmyard in a damaged Ford Escape and tried to steal a truck and quad. Kautz has since stepped down from the council.

Red Pheasant First Nation Chief Clint Wuttinee called the ruling "absolutely perverse" and called on Prime Minister Trudeau to get involved. "Right to Justin Trudeau", Alvin said. "I know it's there, I know it's pervasive, but sometimes when they don't have a hope in heck of being innocent, they're still found innocent of shooting someone in the head".

Boushie's mother was at another rally in North Battleford, Sask. and vowed First Nations people will "fight back". Now she runs a legal practice in town that specializes in resolving claims by former pupils of mandatory boarding, or residential, schools the federal government established in the 19th century.

Yerxa said what happened in Saskatchewan is not very different from what is happening in the city of Thunder Bay, with Indigenous people afraid to even walk the streets.

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"You pulled the trigger, so be a man", she said.

Baptiste said she believes it wasn't an accident. "I'm not saying that Indian people deserve a break because we've been victimized".

"I want to take this all the way to Ottawa".

The area is also an outlier on crime.

Auto theft is common, and farmers in the sparsely settled region complain about agonizingly slow wait times for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to arrive. It was part of the National Day of Action organized by the Indigenous Joint Action Coalition.

Courchene says she wasn't surprised by the decision, the makeup of the jury and the reported absence of anyone of Indigenous descent.

"It's a awful feeling to hear not guilty", he told reporters outside the court. "Gerald Stanley's family has blood on their hands", said Baptiste, who accused Stanley of lying in court under oath.

The police force declined to comment.

What happened during the two-week trial?

For Tootoosis, the social-media hatred prompted by the killing of her cousin may also prove to be his legacy. She appears to have foreshadowed change when she released a statement after the jury was selected. But I wasn't shocked that was going to be the verdict.



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