Gerald Stanley’s fate is in the hands of a jury.
Five men and seven women were sequestered from the outside world Thursday after getting extensive instructions from Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Martel Popescul.
He told the jurors they must decide if Stanley is guilty of second-degree murder in the Aug. 9, 2016 death of Colten Boushie.
They can also find Stanley guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, in lieu of the murder charge.
Popescul’s instructions laid out the legal tests the jury must use to determine its verdict.
He said in order for them to determine Stanley is guilty of murder, the jurors must believe without a reasonable doubt the 56-year-old intentionally pulled the trigger of his gun with the intention of causing bodily harm he knew would likely kill Boushie.
Stanley’s defence has been that his Tokarev pistol discharged accidentally due to a hang fire, a mechanical issue that causes a round to fire late. The Crown has argued the gun couldn’t be fired without a distinct trigger pull.
Justice Popescul reminded the jury of testimony from an RCMP firearms expert testimony saying hang fires were “exceedingly rare.”
If the jury deems the act wasn’t intentional, Justice Popescul said it could then consider a charge of manslaughter. He said the jurors would have to decide if Stanley was careless with his gun during an altercation prior to Boushie’s death.
Popescul told the members of the jury they must acquit Stanley if they are left with reasonable doubt after considering both charges.
JUDGE SUMS UP TESTIMONY HEARD AT TRIAL
Justice Popescul also addressed discrepancies between testimonies during the two-week trial.
“There is no magic formula for how much or how little you believe,” he said.
He noted there was a marked difference among the accounts made by Eric Meechance, Cassidy Cross and Belinda Jackson – all of whom were in the same SUV as Boushie.
He said the jury could decide whether or not their changing statements to police and court were important or not, and whether previous convictions to Meechance and Cross affected their credibility.
Justice Popescul also pointed out where witness testimony contradicted other evidence.
He noted Cross’ testified he had glass in his eyes after Sheldon Stanley struck the windshield with a hammer, but evidence photos showed the glass cracked but intact.
He also re-read Jackson’s recounting of events, noting her account Boushie being shot twice while in the passenger seat was disputed by forensic reports from a blood spatter expert and investigators.
However, he said it was up to the jury to decide what happened that day.
“I am the judge of law, you are the judge of facts,” he said.
650 CKOM and 980 CJME will have live coverage of the verdict, whenever it happens.