Gerald Stanley’s defence lawyer released a lengthy statement Friday, saying despite serious concerns over some media coverage and online comments, he believes his client can get a fair trial next week in the Battlefords.
“Gerry’s trial is not a referendum on racism. If jurors feel they have to pick a ‘side’, then it will be very difficult for there to be a fair trial,” said Scott Spencer, Stanley’s defence lawyer.
Spencer said even though there has been a rush to judgment by some, including threats of violence and accusations of a hate crime, he believed the jury would take a more “balanced approach.”
“It is truly unfortunate that the original narrative set off the vile exchange of uninformed comments, which is many instances were racist.
“Although discouraged by recent comments about potential violence and polarization, we believe the people of the Battlefords… and most importantly the jurors selected, will be willing and able to put in the effort, because it takes a lot of effort, to keep an open mind,” said Spencer.
He also stated the continued media coverage of the case to date was “troubling and inaccurate” because of some coverage that tied the facts of the case to race.
“From the perspective of the defence team, we have serious concerns about some of the media coverage, but we believe Gerry can get a fair trial, and will continue to focus on ensuring that all the facts come out at trial,” said Spencer.
He further acknowledged that racial tensions existed in Saskatchewan, and across Canada, but that race has nothing to do with the “proper outcome” of the trial.
“Saskatchewan will not be judged by a handful of online trolls. Saskatchewan will not be judged by a verdict in Gerry’s case. Saskatchewan will be judged by how we conduct ourselves under the extreme pressure of the next few weeks,” said Spencer.
Spencer also said Stanley would not be giving any interviews, or making any statements during the course of the trial.
The case starts on Monday, Jan. 29 with jury selection.
Editor's note: As this case is still before the courts, comments are closed.
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