Stan­ley pleads guilty to gun charge

Farmer was ac­quit­ted of Boushie mur­der

Ottawa Citizen - - CANADA - AN­DREA HILL

NORTH BAT­TLE­FORD • The Saskatchewan farmer ac­quit­ted in the shoot­ing death of a young Indige­nous man two months ago was met by an­gry shouts of “murderer” when he ar­rived at court Mon­day to an­swer for six ri­fles and shot­guns he had stored in his base­ment.

Ger­ald Stan­ley’s ac­quit­tal in Fe­bru­ary af­ter the fa­tal shoot­ing of Colten Boushie, 22, sparked a de­bate over how the jus­tice sys­tem treats Indige­nous peo­ple, but in­side the North Bat­tle­ford pro­vin­cial court, Mon­day’s guilty plea was nar­rowly fo­cused on firearm reg­u­la­tions.

Stan­ley pleaded guilty to one charge of un­safe stor­age of a firearm. The charges date back to Aug. 9, 2016, when Stan­ley shot Boushie. Af­ter the shoot­ing, RCMP of­fi­cers searched Stan­ley’s prop­erty and found the guns in the base­ment; none had trig­ger locks.

A sec­ond charge of the im­proper stor­age of a re­stricted firearm, a hand­gun, was with­drawn due to lack of ev­i­dence. The charges were not re­lated to the Tokarev semi­au­to­matic pis­tol used in the shoot­ing of Boushie. Stan­ley was or­dered to pay $3,900 and is pro­hib­ited from own­ing weapons for 10 years. He has also been or­dered to for­feit the six firearms.

Stan­ley’ lawyer, Scott Spencer, said the col­lec­tion of long-bar­rel guns is not un­com­mon for a ru­ral farm­house but told court a weapons pro­hi­bi­tion is fine with Stan­ley, say­ing: “Frankly, he wishes he had never owned a gun.”

Spencer and pros­e­cu­tor Chris Browne jointly sub­mit­ted the sen­tence rec­om­men­da­tion.

Judge Bruce Bauer agreed the sen­tence was within the range for a stor­age vi­o­la­tion — even in the higher end of the typ­i­cal range.

The in­ci­dent re­mains a deeply ac­ri­mo­nious one. Mem­bers of Boushie’s fam­ily were in court for the ap­pear­ance and greeted Stan­ley with pro­fan­ity and shouts of “murderer” when he ar­rived. Some wore shirts stat­ing “Jus­tice for Colten.” Se­cu­rity at the court­house was en­hanced for the ap­pear­ance.

In Fe­bru­ary, a jury found Stan­ley not guilty of mur­der for Boushie’s death. Stan­ley did not deny caus­ing the young man’s death, but told the jury the fa­tal shot was an ac­ci­dent. He said he grabbed his Tokarev pis­tol to fire warn­ing shots in the air af­ter Boushie and his friends tres­passed on his land. He ar­gued the fa­tal bul­let dis­charged from the gun as a re­sult of a hang fire — a rare phe­nom­e­non where there is a de­lay be­tween when the trig­ger is pulled and when the gun goes off.

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