Gerald Stanley’s family say they are “relieved” Crown prosecutors announced they would not be appealing his not-guilty verdict for second-degree murder.
Scott Spencer, Stanley’s lawyer, sent a statement to reporters offering “unreserved condolences” to the family of Colten Boushie, who was shot dead after a gun in Stanley’s hand discharged on Aug. 9, 2016.
“This is not a happy day. A young man died, that is a terrible tragedy. There is no going back; there is no making it right,” the statement reads in part.
Spencer concludes the brief five-sentence statement by saying they hope Boushie’s family can “begin to heal.”
Boushie, a 22-year-old Red Pheasant man, was shot minutes after he and four friends had rolled on to the Stanley farm on Aug. 9, 2016.
During Stanley’s second-degree murder trial, court heard the friends admit they had attempted to steal a quad in the yard, sparking a confrontation with the owners.
After the SUV they were in crashed while heading towards the grid road exit, Stanley testified he grabbed a handgun and fired two warning shots into the air to scare off the intruders.
However, he said he pulled the trigger “three or four times” and believed the gun was empty. After approaching the SUV and attempt to turn it off, Stanley said a struggle began with the driver when the gun discharged.
“Boom, it just went off,” he told court.
Spencer pointed to a bulged bullet casing found on the dashboard of the vehicle, suggesting the gun had experienced a hang fire — a delay between trigger pull and discharge.
The Crown had pointed to testimony from a firearms expert who said a hang fire could theoretically last only 0.5 seconds.
A jury of seven women and five men debated for 17 hours before announcing they had found Stanley not guilty.
Saskatchewan’s top prosecutor Anthony Gerein told reporters Wednesday they couldn’t appeal on the basis of the jury decision, but only on a point of law.
“If you disagree with the law, debates about how the law ought to be need to happen outside the criminal courts,” he said.