Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh statement on the Gerald Stanley verdict
On February 9, 2018, an all-white jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of murdering Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Indigenous man. Colten Boushie died on Gerald Stanley’s family farm near Battleford, Saskatchewan, from a gunshot wound to the head by Stanley.
In response to the decision, Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh states, “while much can be said about the outcome and handling of this case, Canadians cannot ignore the systemic racism involved. This jury composition supports the numerous documented reports of racism within Canada’s justice system.” Additionally, Stanley’s defence used peremptory challenges to eliminate any potential jurors who were visibly Indigenous. The Canadian criminal justice system provides this process for counsel to automatically disqualify any potential jurors, without having to provide reasons. Kavanaugh continues, “The result is an erroneous Canadian justice system that excludes Indigenous peoples from the jury selection process. It is discriminatory to Indigenous peoples.” In Ontario, Former Supreme Court Justice Iacobucci has recorded and reported recommendations on the issue of jury review and Indigenous representation.
Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh expresses his deep sorrow to the family of Colten Boushie and the community of Red Pheasant First Nation. He echoes the calls for swift and immediate action to reform the Canadian criminal justice system, “Without reform, there is no justice. And without justice, there is no reconciliation.”
Grand Council Treaty#3