'Not a happy day:' Farmer's family relieved no Crown appeal in murder acquittal

By The Canadian Press
March 8, 2018 - 1:30pm

REGINA — The lawyer for a Saskatchewan farmer acquitted in the shooting death of a young Indigenous man says his client is relieved the Crown won't be appealing the case, but it is not a happy day for anyone.

Last month, a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, 22, who was from the Red Pheasant First Nation.

The Saskatchewan Crown said Wednesday there is no legal basis to appeal the verdict.

"On behalf of the Stanley family, and my team, I offer our unreserved condolences to the Boushie/Baptiste family," lawyer Scott Spencer said in a statement Thursday.

"The Stanley family is relieved that the criminal process is now complete, but this is not a happy day. A young man died, that is a terrible tragedy. There is no going back; there is no making it right."

Spencer said they hope, with time, Boushie's family "can begin to heal."

The trial heard Boushie was one of five young people who drove onto Stanley's farm near Biggar in 2016. They testified they were looking for help with a flat tire.

Stanley told the trial he thought they were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle. He testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again.

The Crown's decision not to appeal the acquittal drew an angry response from Indigenous leaders and Boushie family supporters.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan, says it wants a "forensic accounting" of the jury verdict.

"From the beginning, we've said this isn't the farmers against the First Nations people," vice-chief Kim Jonathan said Thursday. "These are systems in place that have and live and breath racism. To say otherwise, we'd be putting our head in the sand.

"We want to be afforded fair treatment. We want our children to have just as much right to respect in the justice system as anybody else's. We don't want any more and we don't want any less."

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary. Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter

The Canadian Press

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