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