Saskatchewan farmer acquitted in death of Indigenous man guilty of gun charge

NORTH BATTLEFORD, SK — A Saskatchewan farmer acquitted in the fatal shooting of a young Indigenous man is giving up his guns and has been ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after pleading guilty to unsafe storage of an unrestricted firearm.

Gerald Stanley pleaded guilty Monday in North Battleford provincial court to the charge that involved six rifles and shotguns. The Crown said none of them had trigger locks.

The Crown dropped a second count of unsafe storage of a restricted handgun.

Stanley was acquitted in the death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, who was shot and killed on Stanley’s farm in August 2016.

With members and supporters of the Boushie family looking on, the judge accepted a joint recommendation for the fine and a 10-year ban on possessing a firearm. Stanley is also forfeiting all of his guns, which the defence said are pretty common in many rural homes.

“Mr. Stanley doesn’t desire to own a gun ever again,” his lawyer Scott Spencer told court.

Family and supporters of the Boushie family shouted “murderer” as Stanley walked into the courthouse to enter a plea.

Boushie’s brother, Jace Baptiste, said Monday it hurt to see Stanley walking freely into court.

“If that was me or any other Indigenous person that was standing trial for murder or any kind of gun charges, we’d be on remand,” Baptiste said outside court. “We wouldn’t be out walking freely in street clothes, smiling around. We’d be sitting in jail clothes, incarcerated.”

On his Facebook page, Baptiste said the sentence shows an “Indigenous life is only worth $3,000 in the court of law.”

“I’m lost for words.”

Stanley left the courthouse through the back door with deputy sheriffs guarding the route out of the parking lot.

Boushie was one of five young people who drove onto Stanley’s farm near Biggar in 2016. His friends testified they were looking for help with a flat tire.

Stanley told the trial he thought they were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle. He testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he went to pull the keys from their SUV.

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