Stanley Trial The mother of Colten Boushie, Debbie Baptiste, is seen leaving Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford on Feb. 9, 2018. (battlefordsNOW Staff/Angela Brown) During his trial, Stanley testified the Ford Escape Boushie was driving pulled up to a quad and someone tried to start it — at which point Stanley and his son yelled and ran toward the vehicle.
The Escape ended up crashing and Stanley said he grabbed a Tokarev semi-automatic pistol and fired warning shots into the air. He said he believed the gun was empty when he walked up to the SUV and attempted to turn it off, struggling with the driver.
He said the gun “just went off.” Gerald Stanley was acquitted of the shooting death of Colten Boushie one year ago. (battlefordsNOW Staff/Angela Brown) Saturday marks one year since the verdict that drew international attention and triggered wide spread and immediate reaction came down. Thousands across the nation decried systemic racism in Canada’s justice system, while those fed up with rampant crime plaguing rural areas saw justice in the decision. Protests erupted from coast to coast to coast, and a camp was established on the lawn of the Saskatchewan legislature and remained there for over six months.
Eleanore Sunchild, a lawyer who represented the Boushie family, said the activism was fuelled by the thought of this occurring to other Indigenous youth.
“It is not about Gerald Stanley at all. It is about ensuring the safety of our children and our future generations so that this doesn’t happen again,” Sunchild said. “Our children need to be protected.”
In the immediate aftermath of the verdict, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and former-Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould weighed in on the decision. Via Twitter Wilson-Raybould said as a country “we can and must do better — I am committed to working every to ensure justice for all Canadians.” Thank you PM @JustinTrudeau . My thoughts are with the family of Colton Boushie tonight. I truly feel your pain and I hear all of your voices. As a country we can and must do better – I am committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians. https://t.co/HvjV0bofrQ But others quickly fired back, expressing concern about politicians weighing into the judicial process.
For the past year, Sunchild has been deeply involved in the push for justice reform alongside the Boushie family.
It started with a meeting between them and the prime minister in Ottawa. Just two months later, the federal government brought forward legislation to abolish peremptory challenges, which allow lawyers to reject potential jurors without having to provide a reason.
“If they go through, these are probably the most fundamental changes to the jury system that I’ve seen in 30 years of teaching criminal justice,” Kent Roach, a law professor at the University of Toronto who recently published a book about the Stanley case said. Colten Boushie’s uncle Alvin Baptiste exits Court of Queen’s Bench in February 2018. (file photo/battlefordsNOW Staff) Two years after his shooting death, the family launched a civil suit against Stanley and the RCMP. The lawsuit claims the Red Pheasant man’s death was a result of Stanley’s “negligent, reckless or intentional acts.” A separate court filing calls for $1.45 million in damages to be paid by members of the RCMP.
Sunchild said the civil action remains ongoing, as does continued advocacy “to shed light on the systemic injustices within the current justice system that this family experience and is also, unfortunately, the experience of other Indigenous people’s within the system.”
Family members later took their concerns to the Assembly of First Nations. While in Ontario, Sunchild said they met with a family […]
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