Crown stays manslaughter charge against Winnipeg woman accused in stabbing death of 12-year-old boy
The Crown has stayed a manslaughter charge against a Winnipeg woman accused in the stabbing death of a 12-year-old boy.
In June, Winnipeg police arrested 19-year-old Shania Ann-Marie Pearl Pirrie and charged her with manslaughter in connection with the death of 12-year-old Sanchez Boulanger.
Police previously said the boy had been stabbed along Burrows Avenue on the evening of June 18, 2021. He was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries.
In Manitoba's Provincial Court on Tuesday, Crown attorney Ami Kotler said senior members of the Crown's office reviewed the results of the investigation, which included witness statements, digital images, and cell phone videos seized from those close to the incident.
"The evidence establishes among other things that the death occurred while the accused and her family were attempting to retreat and being pursued and while the accused was on the phone with 911," Kotler said.
"As you know the Criminal Code requires that the Crown prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused was not acting in self-defence or in the defence of a third party, and having reviewed the evidence we have determined that this burden cannot be met in this case."
He said there is “no reasonable likelihood of conviction” and the Crown is staying the proceedings against Pirrie.
"I would like to emphasize, Your Honour, that we are aware that these are very painful decisions and that Sanchez Boulanger’s family has suffered a loss that cannot be described and that no parent wants to imagine," Kotler told Judge Sandra Chapman on Tuesday.
"However our actions are guided by the law and in this case, the law requires that we not continue with the charge."
Pirrie's lawyer Kristen Jones told CTV News in a written statement that Pirrie maintained her innocence throughout the process and is relieved with the Crown's decision.
Joni Gabriel, Sanchez's mother, told CTV News she was shocked and angry when she was told on Monday the Crown would be staying the proceedings.
"The justice system needs to change," she said, adding she feels it failed her son.