Questions about our justice system
There has been much outrage over the verdict in the Colton Boushie killing, and, without doubt, Indigenous people have not always been treated fairly by Canadian society nor by our legal system. I can only imagine the pain and anguish the “not guilty” verdict has generated.
But without knowing the details of the evidence presented, nor the deliberations by the jury, it is hard for me to form the conclusion that justice was not done. Gerald Stanley decided that it was appropriate to fire a gun as a warning at people he perceived to be trespassers. Was this decision legal? Was the jury asked to consider if Mr. Stanley’s action was unreasonable? Could he have been charged with a lesser offence?
Had the jury consisted of all-Indigenous people rather than “all white,” would the verdict have been different? If so, then we must ask ourselves if it was the makeup of the jury, not the evidence presented, that determined the fate of the accused. If the answer is “yes,” then we must acknowledge a problem with our jury system.
Was the jury reflective of the peers of Mr. Stanley? Should the jury have been reflective of the local population? Should the jury have had members who represented the victim’s culture? The law is an imprecise instrument, as is the determination of guilt or innocence.
David Polk, Ottawa