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'Racial undercurrent:' Mayor, tribal council call for calm as jury deliberates
Chris Murphy, a Toronto-based lawyer representing the family of Colten Boushie, speaks to media outside the Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford, Sask., on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, during a lunch recess as the jury deliberates at the trial of Gerald Stanley, the farmer accused of killing 22-year-old Boushie, an Indigenous man. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, February 9, 2018 6:51PM CST
BATTLEFORD, Sask. -- There are calls for calm as a Saskatchewan jury continues deliberating the fate of a farmer charged in the fatal shooting of a young Indigenous man.
Gerald Stanley, 56, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie from the Red Pheasant First Nation in August 2016.
Court has heard that Boushie was shot in the head with a handgun while he was sitting in the driver's seat of an SUV that had been driven onto Stanley's farm near Biggar, Sask.
"This case has cracked open the racial undercurrent in Saskatchewan with the potential to further drive a wedge of mistrust between communities," Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand and Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark said in a joint statement.
"We cannot build our future with hateful dialogue and divisiveness. As we await the verdict and wonder what impact this could have on our province, and more importantly, our relations with each other, we must continue to work with each other in a good way, in a respectful way."
The jury spent Friday morning re-listening to testimony from Stanley and his son. The 12 jurors had requested Thursday night to listen to parts of the testimonies again, and Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Martel Popescul eventually said the safest and fairest move would be to play the full testimonies Friday morning.
A lawyer not involved in the trial but who’s representing Boushie’s family said the request shows the jury is taking its job seriously.
“The jury's job is to render a just verdict, so they are taking their job seriously and, frankly, whatever verdict the jury comes up with in this case, I believe that based on the evidence that they've heard it will be a reasonable verdict," Chris Murphy said.
Boushie's uncle, Alvin Baptiste, said now it's just a waiting game and the family is anxious for the case to wrap.
"It's been hanging over my family's head for quite a while. You know it's time that my family starts to heal and move on,” he said.
The trial has heard that the SUV that Boushie and four others were in that day had a flat tire. One member of the group testified they had been drinking and that two of them tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but he said they went to the Stanley property in search of help with the tire.
Defence lawyer Scott Spencer has argued Boushie died as a result of a “freak accident” when the gun hang fired and that Stanley never intended to hurt anyone. Crown prosecutor Bill Burge disputed that Stanley believed the firearm was empty and that the gun could have had a misfire or hang fire.
With the trial coming to an end the RCMP issued a statement reminding all people and parties to "conduct themselves in a peaceful and civil manner regardless of the outcome."
RCMP also warned people will be held responsible for what they say or post online and police will investigate any complaints of suspected criminal behaviour.
--- with files from CTV Saskatoon's Angelina Irinici