Stanley verdict spurs calls for change to justice system
Published Monday, February 12, 2018 6:02PM CST
Last Updated Monday, February 12, 2018 10:15PM CST
In the aftermath of a jury finding Gerald Stanley not guilty, it appears calls for change in the justice system across Canada could be answered.
Stanley, a Saskatchewan farmer, shot and killed Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man, who had entered Stanley's property.
There was no visible Indigenous representation on the jury
"When you have a jury, at the end of the day that's not representative of the community, then you have an unfair jury," said Senator Murray Sinclair.
Boushie's family met with federal ministers Monday to raise their concerns about the justice system post-verdict.
"We're here to work on this, we're here to ask people to work with us," said Bousjie’s cousin Jade Tootoosis.
Former Manitoba judge and current Senator Murray Sinclair says the Boushie case highlights problems with the jury selection process, including that nothing precludes lawyers from using challenges to disqualify potential jurors based on race and gender. Sinclair also says prospective jurors from First Nations communities can face barriers.
"We have the right to lock them up if they don't show up, and yet they might not show up because they don't have the resources to get here," said Sinclair.
Winnipeg defense lawyer Greg Brodsky says he's had cases where the initial pool from which to choose jurors from had little or no representation from the accused or the victim's backgrounds.
"Everybody wants a jury of their peers. We're entitled to a jury of our peers," said Brodsky.
Following a meeting with the Boushie family, ministers in the Trudeau government say they will look at the jury selection process going forward.
"We have reflected a bit and we'll continue to on jury selection," said Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Ottawa says this will require help from the provinces.
Manitoba's opposition party says structural changes are needed.
"Here we are again in respect of, you know, accessing equitable justice,” said Nahanni Fontaine, Manitoba NDP justice critic.
The Pallister government says it won't comment on an independent legal process.
"I will say that as the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Manitoba it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this," said Heather Stefanson.