(Ottawa, ON) – National Chief Perry Bellegarde of the Assembly of First Nations said today’s verdict in the trailer hitch manslaughter case is a welcome surprise.
“This is a significant verdict for First Nations and a wonderful day for Canadian justice,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “First Nations have faced an uphill battle to receive fairness in the judicial system. Perhaps today’s decision demonstrates that courts in this country will begin treating crimes against First Nations (among Black, Indigenous and people of colour) the same as they do attacks on non-Indigenous Canadians. This seems to be a major step in the right direction, but we must remain vigilant if we are to root out institutional racism in our justice system.”
This afternoon, Justice Helen Pierce of the Thunder Bay court ruled Bushby guilty of manslaughter and aggravated assault, which he plead guilty of prior to today’s verdict. Bushby threw a trailer hitch from a moving vehicle, hitting Barbara Kentner in the abdomen. Kentner, 34 at the time, from Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, later died of internal injuries. Bushby’s lawyers claimed the injuries were unrelated to the assault. Bushby, who was 18 and drunk at the time of the incident, admitted to having thrown the hitch.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter at @AFN_Updates.
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