Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley’s acquittals for second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Cree man Colten Boushie will not be appealed.
Stanley, who shot and killed Boushie, 22, in August 2016, was acquitted last month. His lawyers argued his gun had misfired and he hadn’t intended to kill Boushie.
Saskatchewan’s public prosecutions office said Wednesday it will not be appealing the verdict, which was reached by an all-white jury. According to deputy attorney general Anthony Gerein, “there is no basis for concluding the judge said or did anything that would justify an appeal.”
He acknowledged that there is “much sadness” over the decision not to appeal but said an appeal would not be legally viable.
Stanley's verdict sparked nationwide outrage and heightened racial tensions in the country, with many rural farmers and even police seemingly supportive of Stanley.
On the day Boushie was killed, he was in a van with his girlfriend and three other friends. They drove onto Stanley’s property. They said they needed help because of their flat tire. Stanley said he believed they were going to steal his ATV. He said he grabbed his pistol, fired two warning shots in the air and then continued to pull the trigger. He said he believed the gun was empty when he reached inside the van Boushie was sitting in to try and turn off the ignition. At that point, the gun was pointed at Boushie’s head and went off. Stanley’s defence argued it was a “hangfire” which happens when there’s a delay between the time the trigger and pulled and the time the round goes off. Gun experts have said that such a slow “hangfire” would be extremely rare.
Just a few weeks after Stanley’s not guilty verdict, Raymond Cormier was found not guilty of murdering Indigenous teenager Tina Fontaine, whose body was found in Winnipeg’s Red River wrapped in plastic.
Advocates are pointing to the two decisions as examples of how the justice system is failing Indigenous communities.
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