FSIN voices concerns over Stanley trial

By Angela Brown
February 1, 2018 - 8:40pm Updated: February 2, 2018 - 1:28pm

As the Crown is winding down its case in the trial of Gerald Stanley, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron expressed his concerns today for the Boushie family and the justice system.

"We continue to pray for the family for healing," he said.

He said he hoped to see justice prevail.

Gerald Stanley is on trial for second degree murder in the killing of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant First Nation.

Cameron expressed his concerns about Indigenous people's representation on the jury for this trial, noting there were no visible Indigenous people chosen. 

"Maybe this is an eye opener," he said. "Something has to change. The justice system in this province has to change... to meet and reflect the needs of our First Nations. Sitting right now, 20 per cent of the population of Saskatchewan is First Nations."

Cameron said the FSIN justice commission will look at making recommendations going forward, adding FSIN First Vice-Chief Kim Jonathan is in charge of the justice portfolio.

"We have full confidence in her and her justice commission on how we proceed," he said.

Cameron said there needs to be certain "discretions" in place in the justice system, when there are Indigenous victims.

"It only makes logical sense. I am sure it does," he said. 

Cameron added he plans to attend the rest of the Gerald Stanley trial in Battleford. He said the other executive members of the FSIN will also be attending.

Colten Boushie's uncle Alvin Baptiste left court saying he is "taking it day by day."

"It was good to hear the witnesses," he said. "We'll see by tomorrow again, to take another step towards hoping for justice for my nephew Colten."

Colten Boushie's cousin Jade Tootoosis, the family spokesperson, said people need to remember it is Gerald Stanley on trial, not anyone else, when speaking to the press during a break.

David Janvier from Cold Lake First Nation in Alberta took an interest in the case and sat in on court proceedings Thursday. He said he senses "a divide" in the Battlefords community, from his experience as a visitor.

"You can feel the tension," he said. "It's almost like segregation. On this side white men only, on this side Native only. It shouldn't be like that."

Janvier said he can feel a divide at the courthouse too, and when visiting some businesses in the community.

"It's not very nice coming from a different province," he said. "I don't feel very comfortable. I have the same rights and privileges as any other average Canadian."

Janvier added he also hoped "justice is served" in the trial.

"I hope that the man is found guilty. Otherwise, it will set a precedent. It's going to divide this place even more," he added.

Trial could finish sooner than scheduled

The trial may conclude earlier than expected based on the Crown's summary after court Thursday. 

Battlefords Senior Crown Prosecutor Chris Browne said he may be done by Friday morning.

"At this point we have a little bit of evidence to go [Friday]," said Browne. "Then, everything will go to the defence side of this."

He said it was inappropriate for him to comment on any of the evidence until the jury has made their decisions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been closed to commenting because the matter is still before the court.


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