Except for the people present in the jury room in Saskatchewan, when five men and seven women came to the conclusion that Gerald Stanley was not criminally at fault for the death of Colten Boushie, we will never know what went on or what was said. None of those people are allowed to defend or explain their verdict. That is why the statement that Justice Minister Jody Raybould made after the verdict is so worrisome. She stated, through her Twitter account that “My thoughts are with the family of Colten Boushie, I truly feel your pain and I hear your voices. As a country we can and must do better, I’m committed to working every day to ensure justice for All Canadians”.
Remarks like this are very problematic. First of all they politicize something that should not be politicized. As a criminal trial, it potentially interferes with the rights of future jurors to reach a verdict that they deem correct, based on the judge’s instructions, evidence and burden of proof. By making comments like Justice Minister Jody Raybould did, it can cause jury members to feel that they should be fearful of being vilified by public figures just because they didn’t come to the conclusion they wanted them to.
The Prime Minister Chimes in
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also had to put his two cents in, making the situation even worse. He made a point to meet with reporters to tell them: Our hearts go out to Colten Boushie’s family. His mom Debbie, his friends and the entire community, I’m not going to comment on the process that led us to this point today. But I am going to say we have come to this point as a country far too many times. Indigenous people across this country are angry. They’re heartbroken. And I know Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians alike know that we have to do better.”
The process in which Trudeau and Raybould are speaking about is the fact that all of the jurors were white. Since the case was about the killing of an Indigenous person by a white male, they feel that it was not a fair case. Is this what we have come down to? Do they really think that Gerald Stanley was found not guilty simply because he shared the same color skin with the people on the jury? What is even worse is that because of the laws, not one member of the jury is allowed to come forward and defend their opinion. While it is perfectly fine for regular citizens of Canada to question the verdict, and even question the process in which the jury is selected, it his highly inappropriate for politicians to do so to the public. With their prejudicial comments they are undermining the system of justice that they have all sworn to uphold. Making statements about the system does nothing positive for the people of Canada. If they are concerned about the justice system, then they need to work in the background to make sure that the jury selection process is fair. Bringing out the pitchforks for members of a jury who were only doing their civic duty is immoral and dangerous.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.