BATTLEFORD, Sask. – A judge has granted bail to a Saskatchewan farmer charged with the shooting death of an aboriginal man on his property.
The decision, which was released as the court was closing Friday in Battleford, said Gerald Stanley is to be freed on $10,000 bail.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Neil Gabrielson imposed several conditions, including that the 54-year-old Stanley remain within a six-kilometre radius of his farm and wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He must also stay away from the Red Pheasant First Nation and have no contact with the family of the man who was killed.
Stanley is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant reserve.
Stanley pleaded not guilty to the charge during a court appearance on Thursday. A bail hearing was held later in the day but a publication ban was placed on the details.
Boushie was killed Aug. 9 after the vehicle he was in drove onto the farm in the rural municipality of Glenside, west of Saskatoon.
Boushie’s cousin has said they were heading home to the reserve after an afternoon of swimming, when they got a flat tire and were looking for help.
Racial tensions flared after the killing.
First Nations leaders said an initial RCMP release about the shooting was biased, because it stated that people in the car were taken into custody as part of a theft investigation. They were released without charges.
Some comments on social media sites have also been anti-First Nation, while others have supported vigilante justice against the suspect. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall took to Facebook last weekend to condemn the comments and called on people to “rise above intolerance.”
Several people railed online again after the bail decision Friday.
Adam Gaudry, an assistant professor of native studies and political science at the University of Alberta, wrote on Twitter that there’s not much that inspires indigenous confidence in the justice system
“I fear this is only the beginning of a justice system that will give Gerald Stanley the benefit of the doubt and put the victim on trial,” he said.
“Gerald Stanley gets bail because the courts treat white folks as rational and redeemable.”
Hundreds of supporters for Boushie attended court Thursday. Some yelled at Stanley as he was led away by RCMP.
Sheldon Wuttunee, a spokesman for the Boushie family, called for calm. He said its important to demand justice, but in a peaceful manner.
Stanley’s family also released a statement through his lawyer Thursday, saying there has been rampant speculation and misinformation about the shooting. They said they hope people will reserve judgement until the facts of the case are known.