Khill files statement of defence in Styres suit
Family of slain 29-year-old Six Nations man filed claim months before not-guilty verdict
MAN WHO SHOT a Six Nations man dead in his Binbrook driveway but was acquitted has filed a statement of defence in a civil suit against him.
Peter Khill denies responsibility for damages or injuries alleged by Jonathan Styres’ family in their more than $2-million claim. Khill also rejects he intended to kill Styres when he found him in his truck and shot him twice early on Feb. 4, 2016.
In his Nov. 2 statement, he claims to have “feared that a home invasion, and potentially an armed home invasion, was imminent.”
This, he alleges, is because Styres, whom he describes as “menacing” to him and his then-fiancée, knew about a garage opener in the truck.
Khill, who is white, also denies he made no effort to contact police before confronting Styres at 3 a.m. with his shotgun — despite evidence in the criminal trial that he didn’t call 911.
Robert Hooper, lawyer for the plaintiffs, rejected Khill’s narrative about Styres posing a home invasion threat, that he was “menacing,” or that he tried to contact police before firing shots.
“There’s nothing that supports any of these suggestions,” Hooper said Thursday, noting he and a colleague sat through the June criminal trial.
His law office is representing Styres’ spouse, Lindsay Hill, and their young daughters, Zoey and Sophia.
Brian Simo, who’s representing Khill, declined to respond to questions about his client’s statement. “Unfortunately, I can’t offer any further comment at this time. It would be unfair to the process.”
None of the allegations in the civil suit have been tested in court.
In June, a jury in Khill’s criminal case found him not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Styres’ death.
Khill, 26 at the time of the deadly encounter, acknowledged in the twoweek trial he’d shot Styres, 29, when he found him in his truck. But the former military reservist argued he acted in self-defence, saying he feared for his life when Styres lifted his hands to “gun height.”
Styres, however, didn’t have a gun.
The verdict drew a deep gulf between those who supported the decision and others who believed race was a factor in the acquittal.
It served as a rallying cry for Indigenous protesters and leaders to not only appeal the verdict but reform the justice system.
In July, the Crown filed an appeal arguing Justice Stephen Glithero didn’t properly instruct the jury on self-defence.
The Crown also argues the judge allowed an unqualified witness to opine about the effect of Khill’s military training.
Styres’ family launched the lawsuit on Jan. 31, 2018, months before the not-guilty verdict. They have claimed “loss of care, guidance and companionship,” “mental distress” and “psychological damage,” as well as loss of income and services.
In addition to $2 million in damages, the lawsuit seeks aggravated and punitive damages of $250,000. The next step in the civil case would be discovery, Hooper noted. No trial date has been set.
The Khill verdict came after an all-white jury in Saskatchewan acquitted a white farmer in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.
Six Nations Elected Council has called on Ottawa to “overhaul” the justice system, which “overrepresents Indigenous people as victims and accused persons, and chronically underachieves justice.”
Parts of Bill C-75, which Attorney General Jody WilsonRaybould introduced in March, are meant to address this.
A standing committee report on the bill was presented to the House of Commons on Nov. 2.