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Boushie Case Exposes Cracks in Leadership

Colten Boushie (FB)

I like a good murder mystery.

The Colten Boushie case was anything but.

There was never a question regarding who killed Mr. Boushie.

Gerald Stanley was the shooter, he admitted it and his defence attorney acknowledged the fact in court.

The justification for the killing was, however, in dispute.

Was it an intentional killing, as the second degree murder charge laid by police seemed to suggest, or was it an accidental killing as Mr. Stanley described during his sworn testimony in his defence.

The purported facts are also in dispute.

Some suggest Boushie was a criminal intent on committing criminal acts on Mr. Stanley’s farm while others portray him as an innocent victim simply looking for assistance in a time of need.

I won’t delve into the minutia of the case because I prefer to rely on facts when I conduct analysis and form opinions.

The required facts are contained in the transcripts of the criminal proceedings in the Gerald Stanley murder trial and are not available to the public just yet.

As such, the only people who can argue they have a truly “informed” opinion would be the people who attended or participated in the trial.

People  like the jurors who rendered a not guilty verdict in the matter.

A verdict that has sparked anger, outrage and protest across the Country.

Indigenous people blamed the all white jury and cited racism as the prevailing impediment to achieving justice for Colten.

Was racism to blame for the verdict?

Do we need to examine the manner in which juries are selected in our Country?

Do Canadian juries need to more diverse?

These will be topics of much debate moving forward.

As I watched main stream and social media accounts it dawned on me I haven’t seen this kind of societal racial divide since the OJ Simpson case.

In that case, African-Americans celebrated OJ’s acquital while white America gasped in horror, disgusted that a killer of two innocent people had been set free.

Set free by a predominately African-American jury.

The parallels to the Boushie case are obvious.

The public reaction in both cases are strongly divided on racial lines.

Indigenous Canadians largely believe a miscarriage of justice took place by Stanley’s acquittal while Caucasian Canadians express the sentiment it was Colten Boushie’s choice to engage in criminal activity that ultimately caused his demise.

The racial divide may be unprecedented in our Country.

”We’re in a very troubled place, not only as First Nations, not only as Indigenous peoples, but Canadians as a whole,” said Sheldon Wuttunee former Chief of the Red Pheasant First Nation.

Justin Trudeau (Twitter)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seized the opportunity to express his condolences to the Boushie family via Twitter.

He took it further in a press conference held in the United States…

“I’m not going to comment on the process that led to this point today, but I am going to say we have come to this point as a country far too many times. I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.”

It was an interesting choice of words…

”We have to do better.”

The inference was clear.

The Canadian Justice Minister  Jody Wilson-Raybould took it a step further;

Jody Wilson-Raybould (Twitter)

”As a country we can and must do better, I am committed to working everyday to ensure justice for all Canadians.”

If you take her comments in context, Wilson-Raybould is committed to seeking justice for all Canadians….well, all Canadians with the obvious exception of Gerald Stanley.

There you have it.

The Canadian Prime Minister and the Canadian Justice Minister both posting comments on social media that clearly undermine the verdict and the entire Canadian Justice system.

It might be another unprecedented angle to the story.

We’ve seen enough controversial killings in recent history to know the families mourning the losses ultimately demand justice.

Justice to them often means conviction and jail, nothing less.

The evidence, the truth, the facts don’t always matter.

The pre-incident conduct of the decedent, criminal or not, compliant or not (in cases of police deadly force), often don’t matter.

Unfortunately, a person’s perception of justice is entirely dependent on which side of the fence they stand on…

We witnessed that phenomena in the Michael Brown, Terrence Crutcher and countless other cases in the United States.

It’s completely understandable.

I can sympathize to an extent.

What I struggle with is the lack of discretion Canadian Government officials of the highest office have when it comes to their ability to refrain from rushing to judgement in a controversial case such as this.

I don’t believe either of these high-ranking officials were equipped with enough factual information to condemn the Canadian Justice system in the manner they did.

They didn’t sit through days of court proceedings hearing the evidence.

They weren’t able to assess the credibility of the witnesses who testified on behalf of the Crown.

They weren’t able to assess the credibility of Mr. Stanley when he provided his testimony.

They weren’t present in the jury room when guilt or innocence was debated.

The jurors who acquitted Mr. Stanley were.

That’s was their job.

They did their job.

They heard the evidence and acquitted Mr. Stanley.

The comments made by Justin Trudeau and Jody Raybould-Wilson not only undermined the criminal justice system, they sewed the seeds of intense anger, hatred and division.

That was not their job.

Their job was to promote reconciliation and healing.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.


Decision Tree

This following chart is the decision tree provided to the jury by the Justice to assist them in their deliberations on this case…

Decision Tree
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17 Comments

  1. Robert M. Prudhomme

    Deevo. So, you’re a firearms expert, are you? Would you please explain to us how a hangfire could cause the barrel and slide action of a Tokarev TT-33 to disengage from each other, allowing for the partial extraction of the casing and subsequent bulging of that casing? Use small words if you are more comfortable with them.

  2. Robert M. Prudhomme

    The reason Gerald Stanley was acquitted of 2nd degree murder AND the lesser charge of manslaughter is that Mr. Stanley had a very good lawyer who understood that 99.999% of the population wouldn’t know a hangfire from a duck’s back end, even if it were explained to them in very small words 10 hours a day for a week. In fact, I seriously doubt if even Mr. Stanley’s lawyer could explain the firing cycle of a short recoil semi-auto handgun, such as the Tokarev TT-33.

    While rare, hangfires are indeed possible, even ones lasting several seconds. I have no problem with this. What I do have a problem with is Mr. Stanley looking at his Tokarev, between the beginning of the hangfire and his arrival at the SUV, and testifying to seeing the barrel protruding from the front of the slide, and the slide in the rearward “gun empty” position. Anyone, including firearms “experts” who tells you that it is possible for a hangfire to create this condition in a short recoil semi-auto handgun is woefully uneducated in the workings of this gun. What Stanley claimed to have seen is not possible. Period. You’ve all been had. Get over it.

  3. Mooshum Albert;

    It seems a great many people have direct access to the PM these days.

    This list is quite concerning.

  4. Deevo;

    Your take on this case is widely shared.

    Thank you for commenting.

  5. How about some of you actually look into the case before commenting? Including the person who made this post. I’m from Saskatchewan, and we know all too well what happened. It was proved that the fatal shot couldn’t have been fired with a normal trigger pull, it was ww2 era gun, with soviet era polish made ammo that had been sitting in a shed for decades, which caused a hang fire. These kids were drinking, driving around trespassing onto farmyards, and trying to steal vehicles, they even almost ran over Stanley’s son. They changed their story multiple times in court, and had a loaded .22 in the vehicle. This wasn’t an injustice. The only victims are the judge, jury, and Mr. Stanley. Boushie’s friends should have been the ones on trial.

  6. Did our idiot PM read the transcript of the trial???

    Noooo, because it has not been released.

    When was the last time a white victim’s mother was invited to the PM office????

    NEVER!!!!

  7. IF what I have read is correct.. first colton bushie and his friends spent there day and time drinking.. if true they went on to Stanley property which is private… if true Colton Bushie and his friends had a firearm them selves.. if they were trying to steal mr. stanley property…and he was protecting what was his…BUT the biggest issue I have is if these boys had a firearm themselves and where drinking all day… Would you not fear for your life and that of your family… Now we can all sit apass judgement.. but the bottom line is we were not in mr. stanley’s shoes..

  8. In a court of Law the Defense and the Prosicution pick the Jurry

  9. Why were there no other options for this jury, like Point Firearm etc, and Criminal Negligence Cause Death? Pursuing the offence of murder as the only option was a poor gamble.

    Wayne Basso reveals a good point about pandering to the narrative of the offence being motivated by racism. In hindsight adding a few indigenous looking jurors would have done what? The assumption would be, that in the heat of the moment, the farmer used excessive and criminally negligent force because the offenders looked indigenous. The descriptors of the victim, in this crime, are secondary. The accused would have been in a fight or flight mode, his racism/politics/religion would be blogged about later.

    The Crown should appeal this case, offer the appropriate offences, and the accused with the improperly stored Tokarev should take responsibility. Unsafe storage of restricted firearm, point firearm, criminal negligence causing death. This, or similar scenario must have been in the accused’ mind as he was prepared for it.

    You sat at the desk for a ton of these, what would you have presented as options?

  10. Maybe it’s time for a blind jury. They don’t get to see the accused or the victim. No name to indicate possible race. Just the facts and a verdict. Obviously the logistics will have to be worked out , but would that not be an interesting method of blind justice?

  11. “Indigenous Canadians largely believe a miscarriage of justice took place by Stanley’s acquittal while Caucasian Canadians express the sentiment it was Colten Boushie’s choice to engage in criminal activity that ultimately caused his demise.”

    I would suggest the line is drawn more between left and right, not Indigenous and Caucasian. The majority of Caucasians I know, including our PM, think this was a miscarriage of justice.

    But as you point out, it’s not up to any of us to have an opinion on that. It was for the jurors only.

  12. Amanda;

    Thank you for your questions / comments…

    First, it isn’t okay to kill someone who is trying to steal your property. I never suggested it was nor did Mr. Falcon Ouelette.

    From what I understand the defence that was put forward in the Boushie case suggested the shooting was accidental.

    People can come to their own conclusions.

    As I indicated in my article, people should resist the urge to rush to judgement unless they have an informed opinion.

    The use of deadly force is only authorized when someone feels they, or someone under their protection, are facing an imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.

    You put forward a number of scenarios, all I can tell you is that each and every use of force that causes death has to be carefully examined on its own unique merits.

    Every aspect of such a shooting has to be carefully examined to determine if a shooting is justified.

    People do have the right to defend their property.

    Using a firearm to defend your property can be a dangerous proposition for the owner of property and the intruders.

    In some cases, the owner of the property could be disarmed and the firearm used against them and their family.

    The Boushie case is an example of how the defence of property can have tragic consequences.

  13. Thanks for opening this dialogue. I appreciate hearing different persepectives.

    Regarding Falcon-Ouellette’s comment;

    Since when is ok to kill someone who is trying to steal our property?
    If I catch someone trying to steal my vehicle who appears to have a gun in his possession, is it to ok for me to go grab my loaded gun (if I had one) and kill him?
    Does it make it any more justifiable if this happens in a rural area?
    If he had killed him without a gun would that murder still be justified?

    I realize many people think this is a race issue… maybe it is, but maybe that is actually not the biggest issue here. I strongly suspect Stanley would’ve shot a white man who was doing the same thing that Boushie allegedly was. I think this is more about people feeling like they have a right to use guns to defend their property and material possessions… and how is that not a crime??

    Sorry – I have a lot of questions.
    I’m sure we all do.

  14. Vicki…

    We can have differing opinions regarding the intent of the PM’s comments…

    My question would be, why the need to make any comment, vague or otherwise, that could be interpreted or worse, misinterpreted to be a condemnation of the criminal justice system.

    Compare the PM’s response to that of Robert Falcon-Ouellette’s…

    “I’m really sorry for the Boushie family but I’m also sorry for the Stanley family. I know most people don’t want to hear that right now. But the Stanley family, and many farmers in Saskatchewan, have the feeling that their property is not respected and people come on to their farms and steal their stuff.”

    He went on to speak about policing levels in rural communities and the Federal Goverments responsibility to provide adequate protection to the citizenry.

    He also recognized people might be upset he didn’t jump on the protest bandwagon indicating, “The role of a leader is also to look at things with a cool head and try and take a perspective from different vantage points.”

    His comments profoundly contrast from that of the PM and his Minister of Justice.

    He demonstrated true leadership here and more importantly, understands what that means.

    Just my opinion.

    Thank you for commenting…

  15. I don’t know that we can draw a straight line from the deliberately vague comment, “we have to do better” to the PM’s thoughts on the outcome of the trial. I took it to have a broader meaning; the circumstances that led to these young people being in this situation and throughout their lives are not the same set of privileged circumstances that my children encounter. It will take a huge effort for all children to have the same opportunities to flourish. I agree with that statement.

  16. I agree James. In any trial there will be people who believe justice was not done, those being the ones who did not have the verdict go their way. The fact is that there 12 people who listened to all of the evidence, charge by the judge, deliberated and reached a unanimous decision. People are crying racism because there were no indigenous people on the jury, but are our juries destined to become representative of all parties involved to prevent people from playing the race card? Perhaps people, especially our politicians, should refrain from jumping to conclusions until all of the facts are known.

  17. Michael Melanson

    Bang on, Mr. Jewell. I was astounded that Trudeau and Wilson-Reybould commented at all on the trial. You probably know better than I but their comments seem like they would have compromised any chance the Crown had for an appeal.

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