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Jury begins deliberation, manslaughter an option

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The jury deliberations are now on in the trial of Gerald Stanley for second degree murder.

Deliberations began late Thursday following a lengthy charge to the jury from Chief Justice Martel Popescul during the afternoon. The charge included lengthy instructions on such things as the Crown’s burden of proof, reasonable doubt, how to assess the credibility of witnesses, instructions on evidence, the definition of culpable homicide, and instructions on the elements of the offence.

On the verdict, three options are being put to the jury: one is a finding of not guilty, the second is not guilty of second degree murder but guilty of manslaughter, and the third is guilty of second-degree murder.

The jury is now sequestered, and will decide the fate of Stanley behind closed doors in the jury room at Battleford court house.

Stanley is charged with the second-degree murder of Colten Boushie, a passenger in a grey Ford Escape vehicle, who was shot and killed on Stanley’s property in the RM of Glenside on Aug. 9, 2016.

Earlier in the day Thursday, both defence lawyer Scott Spencer and Crown prosecutor Bill Burge provided closing arguments in the case. Spencer’s closing focused on Stanley’s actions being ones you would “reasonably expect in the circumstances.”

Burge’s remarks to the jury put forth a view that Stanley’s testimony didn’t line up with the evidence, and that Stanley’s actions were “exceedingly reckless.”

The proceedings Thursday also saw the largest turnout of demonstrators so far at the trial. Supporters from Thunderchild First Nation were on hand in support of the Boushie family. As well, a group from Regina calling themselves Colonialism No More were also outside the court house waving placards in support of Boushie. They had unfurled a banner that read “Indigenous Lives Matter.”

During the noon hour, Christine Freehy stood at the front of the court house to offer a moment of silence in memory of Boushie.