Judge's verdict instructions to Gerald Stanley jury, explained in 1 minute

The seven women and five men who found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter in the death of Colten Boushie had to consider three key questions before reaching that verdict. Watch our explainer video.

Jurors considered 3 key questions before reaching their much-debated not-guilty verdict

Chief Justice Martel Propescul of Saskatchewan's Court of Queen's Bench took an hour and a half to read out his verdict instructions to the jury in the Gerald Stanley murder trial. We've distilled his instructions into a brief video. (Cloudesley Rook-Hobbs)

It took Chief Justice Martel Popescul over an hour and a half to read out his verdict instructions to the jury in the Gerald Stanley murder trial.

A day later, the 12 Saskatchewan jurors found Stanley, 56, not guilty of either second-degree murder or manslaughter in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation.

Boushie was shot and killed after he and four others drove onto Stanley's cattle farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016.

How the jury reached the much-debated verdict will remain known only to the seven female and five male jurors.

But Popescul's jury charge laid out three key questions the jury had to wade through before coming to its decision.

Here's a short video explaining the crux of the judge's instructions, followed by brief notes on other things Popescul highlighted to jurors. (Video graphic by Earl Cabuhat.)

Gerald Stanley Verdict Instructions 1:07

Other factors

Two other things about Popescul's jury charge are worth noting.

The first is a section in which Popescul marked a clear point from which the jury had to decide whether the steps Stanley took were lawful.

Stanley testified that in order to scare off Boushie and the others, he fired two warning shots in the air. He said a third shot accidentally killed Boushie.

Popescul told jurors "there is no dispute that Mr. Stanley was lawfully justified in the circumstances of this case to retrieve his handgun and fire it into the air as warning shots, if you find that this is what he did."

"Beyond that," said Popescul, "it is for you to determine if his actions continued to be lawful."

Witness credibility

Popescul also singled out one of the Crown witnesses for testifying something that did not align with a statement of facts agreed upon by the defence and Crown lawyer.

Belinda Jackson, one of the people who arrived at Stanley's farm with Boushie, said Stanley shot Boushie twice in the head.

"This testimony, although this is entirely up to you to decide, is at odds with the autopsy report that definitively states that Mr. Boushie died from a single gunshot to the head," Popescul told jurors.

"If you have a reasonable doubt about Mr. Stanley's guilt arising from ... the credibility or the reliability of one or more of the witnesses, then you must find him not guilty," he said.

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

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with files from Earl Cabuhat