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Wilson-Raybould doesn't think justice system is fair to Indigenous people, vows reform

From CBC - February 13, 2018

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says she does not think the justice system is fair to Indigenous peopleand wants tostrip it of its "colonial legacy"starting with changes to how a jury is selected in this country.

"I think the justice system is incredibly challenged with respect to Indigenous people. Do I think it's fair? I do not think it's fair right now," Wilson-Raybouldsaid in an interview with Rosemary Barton forCBC'sThe National.

"I think we can do better, and we have a lot to do in order to put in place the necessary reforms."

The comments come in the wake of the Colten Boushie murder trial, which saw jurors hand Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley anot-guilty verdict for his role in Boushie's death. The decision prompted a wave of anger and demands for concrete changes to how justice is carried out in courts across the land.

Boushie's family travelled to Ottawa this week for two days of talks with some of the government's most senior cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A common theme of those meetings was the need to change the rules onjury composition.

'We believe it was an all-white jury'

The Toronto-based criminal lawyer representing the Boushie family,Chris Murphy, has raised questions about the jury selection process in this trial.

Observers criticized the jury makeup for its alleged lack of Indigenous members, although CBC News has not independently determined that was the case.

In Canada, lawyers can challenge potential jurors and exclude themfrom the jury without givingreasonsso-called "peremptory challenges."

Murphy said would-be jurors in the Stanley case who appeared to be Indigenous roughly five in total were challenged by the defence.

"We believe it was an all-white jury and jurors are supposed to be conscience of the community," he said."There are no Indigenous Queen's Bench judges in the province of Saskatchewan. There's one Indigenous provincial court judge.

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