Coming trial 'is not a referendum on racism,' says lawyer for man accused of killing Colten Boushie
Defence attorney Scott Spencer issues statement saying race is not a factor in the trial
The lawyer for Gerald Stanley, the man accused of killing Colten Boushie, issued a statement on Friday aiming to stub out racial tensions as a factor in next week's second-degree murder trial.
"Despite any online comments or media stories, Gerry's trial is not a referendum on racism," said Scott Spencer, the Saskatoon-based defence attorney representing Stanley in the Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford, Sask., starting Monday.
"If jurors feel they have to pick a 'side,' then it will be very difficult for there to be a fair trial."
- Read the full statement here.
Spencer said his client won't be giving interviews or making statements during the trial, which is expected to last at least two weeks. Spencer asked for "respect" for the Stanley family during the trial.
Spencer did acknowledge that racial tensions do exist in the province, but stated that they date back to before "the Boushie tragedy."
"It is dangerous to deny them but it is perhaps equally dangerous to allege racism where it does not exist," he said. "Either way, race has nothing to do with the proper outcome of Gerry's trial."
Glen Luther, a professor of law at the University of Saskatchewan, called the statement "a very reasonable" one and said it offered a clue about Spencer's defence strategy.
"He [Spencer] seems to want to distance himself from the 'trolls' and of course the same for his client," he said.
"I expect we will see him say something similar to the eventual jury and that it is the first sign of the defence tactic of saying this case is about this case's facts and nothing else."
Spencer said he was also concerned with some of the media coverage of Boushie's death.
Jury selection for the trial will begin at 10 a.m. CST in Battleford on Monday.