FSIN asks Federal government for action on jury selection process

By Angela Brown
February 9, 2018 - 2:00pm

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) chief Bobby Cameron said the FSIN has sent a letter to Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould asking for some action to "acknowledge the diversity" related to the jury selection process in Canada. 

"Let's make some decisions that are going to justify the diversity that we live in here in Saskatchewan and across Canada," said Cameron to press outside the Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford Friday, during the Gerald Stanley trial. 

Stanley is facing a charge of second degree murder related to the fatal shooting of Colten Boushie of Red Pheasant First Nation on Stanley's Biggar area farm yard in Aug. 2016.

The Boushie family have spoken out about their concerns after the jury was selected, asking why there were no visible Indigenous people selected for the jury.

Cameron said the Boushie family may decide they want an inquiry into the matter.

Cameron said "a lot of questions have to be answered."

He went on to say if the jury decides Stanley is guilty of manslaughter instead of the charge of second degree murder, if it finds him guilty, then the FSIN won't be satisfied with that.

"The family will be upset and we'll be upset," said Cameron. "We're praying for the best and hope the family gets what's coming...

"We're hoping for an improvement in the justice system," he added. 

Cameron said if the verdict is manslaughter, then the justice system will have "failed First Nation people again."

On the issue of jury selection process in Canada, while she wouldn't speak to the Stanley trial case in particular, Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said in a statement that Peremptory Challenges in the jury selection process have always been part of the common law and the Canadian justice system, so legislative reforms would need to be "carefully studied and considered."

“Nonetheless, the under-representation of Indigenous jurors is an issue in several provinces and it is a reality I find concerning," said Wilson-Raybould.

She also said she supports the ongoing work of the National Judicial Institute on the issue of jury selection and the under-representation of Indigenous jurors.  

 

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