Can Canadian Lit Help Us Explain the Boushie Tragedy?

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When the verdict was handed down in the Gerald Stanley trial, it immediately seemed to me to be wrong on the law. I had trouble making sense of how anyone could apply the defences argued to the facts established and arrive at an acquittal in the death of 22-year-old Cree man Colten Boushie. How did the jury get there? What was going on in their minds?

If it’s difficult to explain the outcome of a trial by focusing only on the laws and principles that were raised by the Crown and defence, we should look beyond law for illumination. We can’t know what was going on in the minds of the jury. But we can look at the ideas, perceptions and biases embedded in the broader culture; consider how these may have affected various legal actors and figured in the result.

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