A Toronto publishing company says they’ve denied a request from Gerald Stanley’s lawyers to meet about telling the farmer’s story.
Between The Lines Books released a statement Thursday afternoon titled, “No, we will not publish Gerald Stanley’s Story.”
The company said they were approached by the legal team at Robertson Stromberg LLP about setting up a meeting, allegedly writing in an email “Gerald is looking to share his side of the story.”
Scott Spencer is a lawyer with Robertson Stromberg. He represented Stanley in his second degree murder trial in February, where Stanley was tried over the shooting death of 23-year-old Colten Boushie.
Between The Lines said they declined the meeting because Stanley’s story was already told at trial and “was validated, in wilful disregard of the facts and expert testimony, by an all-white jury.”
Concerns were raised by Boushie’s family over the jury selection process, where all potential jurors who were visibly Indigenous were challenged by defence counsel.
“His side of the story is already told through a general whitewashing in public discourses that deny or minimize anti-Indigenous racism and violence,” the statement adds.
In an emailed statement, Spencer said reaching out to the publisher was about setting the record straight.
“Gerry has been concerned throughout the legal process about the misinformation that has been widely circulated. Gerry believed that once the facts came out at trial that the misinformation would stop and that any public discussion would be based on facts and evidence. However, that has not been the case,” the statement read.
“He is not looking for a ‘book deal,’ we are not acting as his ‘literary agents.’ Gerry just wants to see the public record set straight.”
Boushie was killed after he and several friends drove onto Stanley’s Biggar-area farm on Aug. 9, 2016. Two of the friends admitted someone in the vehicle attempted to steal a quad, which sparked a confrontation between them and the Stanleys.
The 56-year-old farmer told court he had grabbed a pistol and fired two warning shots before thinking his gun was empty. With the weapon still in his hand, a struggle ensued with the driver of the SUV and the gun discharged.
“Boom, it just went off,” he told court, adding he thought he had experienced what’s known as a hang fire.
Between The Lines said publishers like themselves have a “great deal of power” to “choose who is and is not heard.”
The company said they favour telling stories about advocates of social change and to uncover “uncomfortable truths.”
“If there is an untold side of this story that ought to be published it is that of the one person who can no longer tell his story — Colten Boushie,” the statement reads, noting they stand in solidarity with the Red Pheasant man’s family.
The statement also suggests Stanley’s legal team has contacted other publishing houses.