The Spectator's view: Canada needs Indigenous jurors

February 13, 2018
Article Source
Hamilton Spectator

From an opinion piece in the Hamilton Spectator: In Canadian courts of law, justice should not only be done, it should be seen to be done.

On this principle hangs the credibility of our entire legal system.

Yet regrettably, vast swaths of the Canadian public believe in their hearts that they have not seen justice done in the trial of Gerald Stanley, a white man who was accused of killing Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man.

Stanley's acquittal last Friday sparked a firestorm of anger and prompted protests across the country by Indigenous and nonindigenous Canadians alike.

In their eyes, the jury's verdict was the latest outrage committed by a Canadian institution against First Nations people.

This was always going to be a hard case to bring to trial. Boushie was with a group of Aboriginal youth who drove onto Stanley's farm near Biggar, Saskatchewan, on Aug. 9, 2016.

An altercation erupted and when it was over Boushie was dead, killed by a handgun that had been fired by Stanley.

Stanley's defence was that the fatal bullet was the result of a "hang fire," and that what he intended as a warning shot into the air went off later and unintentionally when he was beside Boushie.

Of course, to those demanding justice for Boushie, this is fiction.

We don't know who's right. It's difficult for people who weren't in the Battleford courtroom where Stanley stood trial to play armchair judges and deliver their own verdict based on limited media accounts of the proceedings.

Read more: The Spectator's view: Canada needs Indigenous jurors