NORTH BATTLEFORD, Sask. — A judge has ordered a Saskatchewan farmer to stand trial in the shooting death of an indigenous man.
The decision came at the end of a preliminary hearing for Gerald Stanley.
Stanley is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie who was shot and killed on Stanley’s farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9, 2016.
Details of the preliminary hearing are under a publication ban.
The killing of Boushie, who was from the Red Pheasant First Nation, ignited racial tension in Saskatchewan.
Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, spoke outside court while Debbie Baptiste stood next to her, holding a photo of her slain son.
“Colten’s death must have a purpose,” Tootoosis said Thursday. “Will his death reveal the deep divide that exists between many in this province?”
RCMP have been present throughout the preliminary hearing this week, with officers blocking off the road in front of the courthouse.
Before this, there had been large rallies outside court when Stanley made previous court appearances.
“We, Colten’s family, hope that this preliminary hearing — and the issues that it raises about our relationships with each other — will generate further discussion and dialogue to help us bring our communities together,” Tootoosis said.
Stanley declined to comment outside court. He has a plea hearing June 26 on two counts of unsafe storage of firearms related to the Boushie killing.
Crown prosecutor Bill Burge says Stanley’s trial will start in the late fall at the earliest.
RCMP say they’re looking into laying hate-speech charges over racist comments made online about the Boushie case. They say they’ve ”looked into a number of instances of potential hate crimes” over the last few months in Saskatchewan.
CKOM, The Canadian Press