Crown says it won’t appeal not-guilty verdict in Gerald Stanley trial

Gerald Stanley enters the Court of Queen’s Bench for the fifth day of his trial in Battleford, Sask., on Feb. 5, 2018.

The Crown says it won’t appeal the acquittal of a Saskatchewan farmer who was accused of fatally shooting a young Indigenous man in the head.

Last month, a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie, who was 22 and from Red Pheasant First Nation.

The Crown says a verdict can’t be appealed because people don’t agree with it or because there may be questions about the investigation.

“The Crown can only appeal legal errors in the course of the trial,” senior prosecutor Anthony Gerein said Wednesday at a news conference.

The trial heard that Boushie was one of five young people who drove an SUV into Stanley’s farmyard near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016. Those in the SUV testified they were looking for help for a flat tire while Stanley told the trial he thought the youths were trying to steal an all-terrain vehicle.

Stanley testified he fired warning shots to scare them away and the gun accidentally went off again when he reached for the keys in the SUV’s ignition.

The case was filled with racial tension from the beginning and the verdict was met with outrage from Boushie’s relatives and their supporters.

Family members met with federal ministers along with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to ask for changes to the justice system and to how juries are selected to better reflect Indigenous people.

Protests were also held around Canada to voice displeasure with the outcome of the case.

“I know there is much sadness about the decision not to appeal, but there can be no appeal because the law does not allow it,” Gerein said.

He said the Crown did not consult with the Boushie family about the legal decision. But Gerein spoke to lawyers on both sides and they informed their clients, he said.

Boushie’s cousin, Jade Tootoosis, has said that the family felt excluded and ignored by the justice system following the shooting.

“I urge no one to be discouraged or distrust the system. We are all in this together and must be united against crime and in the search for justice,” Gerein said.

“Complainants need to come forward when they have been wronged. Witnesses need to come to court and testify, sharing the truth. Good men and women will convict where they are sure it is right.”

On Tuesday, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission launched a review into the RCMP’s investigation into the shooting.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

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‘The world knows his name’: rally for Colten Boushie held in Regina exactly one week after verdict

minute-of-silence

Members of the American Indian movement were part of a one-week rally on Friday night, in which people took a minute to remember and honour the memory of Colten Boushie. (CBC News)

Minute of silence held one week after Gerald Stanley found not guilty in Boushie’s death

One week after the verdict in the Gerald Stanley murder trial came down, people gathered in Regina to remember the death of Colten Boushie.

A group of about 60 walked and sang during the Friday night rally, before making their way to a downtown hall. There, they held one minute of silence at 7:30 p.m., to coincide with the time one week earlier, when a jury found Gerald Stanley not guilty in Boushie’s shooting death.

Satin Denny, eldest sister to Boushie, stood to give a tearful address. She told those gathered how thankful her family members have been for the support of everyone across Canada, following her brother’s death.

“It’s hard; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.

Several came to the front to embrace Denny, and to speak about their feelings on the treatment of Indigenous people and their feelings on the need for change.

Murray Stonechild stood to describe some of the difficult things he had seen in his lifetime, as a war veteran, and yet how unsafe he and other Indigenous people felt right at home in Saskatchewan in the wake of Boushie’s death.

However, he said he felt something good would come from the sadness and misfortune of Boushie’s death.

“The world is watching. The world knows his name,” he said.

Stonechild said the federal government is now speaking out, recognizing the need for reform of the justice system.

Groups like Colonialism No More and the Saskatchewan Coalition Against Racism have been trying to support the Boushie family by holding events like the one-week rally, said organizer Michelle Stewart. They continue to hold events to draw awareness to what she called a “two-tiered” justice system.

“I think what we’re doing right now in Regina and across Canada is demonstrating capacity to continue to hold space until something changes,” she said.

“I hope this is a catalyst for change.”

CBC News · Posted: Feb 16, 2018

[SOURCE]

RCMP investigate after officer reportedly wrote Facebook post that Colten Boushie ‘got what he deserved’

The RCMP is investigating reports an officer made a Facebook post saying Colten Boushie “got what he deserved.”

According to APTN News an RCMP officer on the Prairies posted the message, which said the shooting of the 22-year-old Indigenous man on a Saskatchewan farm should never have been about race.

Boushie, from the Red Pheasant First Nation, was shot and killed in 2016. Gerald Stanley, 56, was acquitted of second-degree murder in a verdict last week by an all-white jury, spurring protests across the country in what many believe was a racially motivated decision.

The female officer who made the post claims to police a First Nations community.

The RCMP told the Star that there are no officers with the name linked to the Facebook account, and didn’t confirm whether the woman worked as an officer under another name.

“Too bad the kid died but he got what he deserved. How many of us work on or near reserves and are getting fed up with the race card being used every time someone gets caught breaking the law?,” she said.

Facebook post from APTN

The comment was posted in a Facebook group called “News Stories that Matter to or May Impact RCMP,” and has since been deleted.

APTN did not disclose the person’s identity, but said two sources shared screenshots of the posting and revealed who the officer is.

“Obviously, this remark is absolutely appalling and unacceptable,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a teleconference with journalists Thursday.

The RCMP’s statement in response to the story said on- and off-duty members must behave in accordance with the force’s code of conduct and that a member’s use of the internet for social networking is subject to the same standards.

It said members must avoid compromising the integrity of the RCMP or portraying themselves or the organization in a disgraceful or discreditable manner. When concerns about disrespectful content believed to be written by an RCMP employee are raised, “they are and will be investigated and addressed.”

“The RCMP is once again reminding people that they can and will be held responsible for their communications, both in-person and on-line, and police will investigate any complaints of suspected criminal behaviour,” it said.

Fatal Shooting of Colten Boushie A ‘Freak Accident:’ Defence

Colten Boushie, left, was killed in August 2016. Gerald Stanley, right, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

A defence lawyer says an Indigenous teen who died in a shooting on a Saskatchewan farm was the victim of a freak accident.

Gerald Stanley’s lawyer is making his opening arguments before a jury hearing the man’s second-degree murder trial.

Scott Spencer told jurors that 22-year-old Colten Boushie’s death wasn’t justified, but they must put themselves in Stanley’s shoes.

He said the Stanley family was facing intruders on their farm near Biggar, Sask., in August 2016 which created a panic situation.

Spencer suggested it wasn’t unreasonable for warning shots to be fired to scare off the intruders and called the fatal shooting a “freak accident in the course of an unimaginably scary situation.”

Boushie was sitting in the driver’s seat of a grey Ford Escape when he was shot.

“This is not a justified death. It is never right to take somebody’s life. But that’s not what this case is all about,” Spencer told court in Battleford, Sask., on Monday.

“For farm people, your yard is your castle. We have a family. They were working on their ranch. That’s what the day started like for Gerry and his family. What happened is they faced essentially (an) intruder.”

Court has heard an SUV with a flat tire carrying five people drove onto the Stanley farm. The driver testified the group had been drinking during the day and tried to break into a truck on a neighbouring farm, but went to the Stanley farm in search of help with the tire.

Stanley’s son has testified that on the day of the shooting, he and his father heard an ATV start and thought it was being stolen. The pair ran toward the SUV and threw a hammer at the windshield as the driver tried to leave the farm.

Sheldon Stanley said he went into the house to get his truck keys and heard two gunshots. He said he heard a third when he came back out. He told court he saw his father, looking sick, with a gun in his hand saying, “It just went off.”

“You have to view it from Gerry’s perspective and what he faced. The fear, the unknown. When you’re in a situation where you have intruders and you don’t have the luxury of being able to wait for police assistance. This case comes down to what’s reasonable,” Spencer said.

“It’s not a self defence. What can you do to protect yourself in those circumstances? You can’t use lethal force but is it reasonable to deal with the circumstance to protect you and your family?”

Spencer suggested Stanley’s gun misfired.

“The reality is the gun just went off. If they would have just stopped … stopped stealing … just walked away he wouldn’t have had to go over there.” said Spencer, who added that Stanley will take the stand to explain what happened.

The Crown wrapped up its case last week.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Gerald Stanley, Accused in Colten Boushie Case, to Stand Trial for Second Degree Murder

Colten Boushie’s family surrounded by support outside the North Battleford courthouse Aug. 18, 2016.

Gerald Stanley committed to stand trial for second degree murder of Colten Boushie

By Red Power Media, Staff | April 06, 2017

The Saskatchewan farmer charged in the shooting death of 22-year-old Colten Boushie has been committed to stand trial.

650 CKOM reports, Gerald Stanley will stand trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench, in North Battleford, on the charge of second degree murder.

The ruling came down Thursday, on the last day of Stanley’s preliminary hearing.

On Aug. 9, 2016, Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, was a passenger in a car with four other people when he was shot and killed on Stanley’s rural property after the group went to ask for help with a flat tire.

Gerald Stanley leaves North Battleford provincial court on the last day of his preliminary hearing Thursday. A judge ordered him to stand trial on second-degree murder. (Jason Warick/CBC )

The allegations against Stanley have not yet been proven in court.

A trial date has not been set, however the Crown said it would be fall 2017 at the earliest.

All evidence and testimony from Stanley’s preliminary hearing are under a publication ban.

The next scheduled appearance for Stanley is June 26, 1:30 in provincial court on two charges of unsafe storage of a firearm.

RCMP are also looking into laying hate-speech charges over racist comments made online about the Colten Boushie case.

RCMP say that Mounties have “looked into a number of instances of potential hate crimes” over the last few months in Saskatchewan. No charges have yet been laid.

RELATED:

The RCMP was accused of showing bias in its initial media release issued about the shooting.

The way RCMP initially described the shooting death of Boushie fueled racial tensions in Saskatchewan.

Social media exploded with rumours and posts that wished violence on Boushie’s friends and Indigenous people in general.

Hearing attracts rally

CBC News reports, a crowd of nearly 100 people carrying placards reading “Justice for Colten” and “Native Lives Matter!” gathered outside the courthouse on Thursday.

According to the Battlefords News-Optimist, a number of Indigenous leaders, including Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) officials and several area Chiefs, were in attendance decrying the racism they were seeing.

“This is tragic, but again it’s not the first time,” said FSIN vice-chief Heather Bear. She voiced support for laying charges for those who had promoted hate speech on social media in the wake of the tragedy.

At the rally Colten’s cousin Jade Tootoosis stood beside Colten’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, and read a statement on behalf of the family.

“While his death revealed a deep divide in this province, it also brought us here, to this court house where we can come together and ask for a fair trial for everyone involved. We, Colten’s family, hope that this preliminary hearing and the issues that it raises about our relationships with each other, will generate further discussion and dialogue to help us bring our communities together.”

Following the preliminary hearing, crowds broke into chants of “Justice for Colten” after they learned that Stanley had been committed to stand trial.

“I’m pretty sure my brother’s looking down now happy,” said Colten Boushie’s brother, William Boushie, to reporters following the proceedings.

RCMP barricades blocked the road in front of North Battleford Provincial Court for much of the hearing’s, while several officers were stationed outside the building and inside the hallways and courtroom.

The lawyer for the Boushie family, Chris Murphy, said he wasn’t aware of any threats and said he’s never before seen that amount of security at a court case.

Hate Speech Vs. Freedom Of Speech In The Age Of Social Media

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Hate speech a difficult thing to define when balancing it with freedom of speech.

CBC News Posted: Aug 22, 2016

The social media firestorm following the shooting death of Colten Boushie, 22, has prompted questions of what constitutes hate speech in the digital age.

The racist and hateful statements in some comment sections have prompted Premier Brad Wall to speak out, writing on his Facebook page “racism has no place in Saskatchewan” last weekend. The RCMP have stated they are actively investigating all social media posts that could be considered hate speech.

Ken Norman is a professor at the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan. He said that for a comment to be considered hate speech, certain elements must be at play in the statement.

“There has to be some intention to engage in an extreme form of vilification or detestation, in the words of the Supreme Court,” he said. “There has to be some prospect that somebody might act on this, that it has to be a call for somebody to do something.”

Norman added our law does not allow people to say the most violent kinds of racist things without the law stepping up and that posts on social media can constitute hate speech as they are public statements.

“RCMP I think are rightly looking into this and should take very seriously this kind of level of hatred,” he said.

Balancing with freedom of speech

Norman said hate speech has been a difficult thing to define when balancing it with freedom of speech.

“I think there’s a balance that necessarily has to be put in place. After all – free speech is an important and vital democratic value. So people have to be given some leeway to say hurtful things,” he said.

He said our law draws an important line stating you cannot dehumanize an identifiable group of people with comments that promote violence.

Norman said social media postings of hate speech have not really been tested by the courts yet, and there have not been many convictions in Canada under the hate-crime provision. He added that the premier rightly indicated that these laws are on the books for a reason and they should be enforced.

“This is an issue for all of us to consider with regard to what the limits of speech need to be if we’re to live together as neighbours,” Norman said.

[SOURCE]

Social Media Comments Could Be Criminal: Mounties

Family, friends and supporters for Colten Boushie hold signs during a rally outside of the Saskatchewan Provincial Court in North Battleford,Thursday, August 18, 2016. People rally outside a Saskatchewan courthouse Thursday where a farmer accused of fatally shooting a First Nations man is to make an appearance. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

Family, friends and supporters for Colten Boushie hold signs during a rally outside of the Saskatchewan Provincial Court in North Battleford,Thursday, August 18, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards)

(CP) 8/20/16

BIGGAR, Sask. — Mounties in Saskatchewan are warning that some social media comments could be criminal in the wake of a fatal shooting of an aboriginal man on a farm earlier this month.

RCMP issued a news release on Saturday stating police are monitoring the situation related to events in the area of Biggar, which was where the shooting occurred.

Police say in the release that the social media comments are concerning, and they ask people to “remain respectful” in their online communication.

Colten Boushie, 22, was killed Aug. 10 after the vehicle he was in drove onto a farm.

Gerald Stanley has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the incident and was freed Friday on $10,000 bail.

The news release doesn’t mention whether police have received any complaints about online comments, and calls to the RCMP were not immediately returned.

“We can assure that the safety and security of the people of Saskatchewan is our number one priority,” the release states. “We take all complaints very seriously and we encourage anyone with concerns to contact (police).”

“We will not have anyone available for media interviews,” it concludes.

Last weekend, Premier Brad Wall took to Facebook to condemn some of the social media discussion of the case, calling comments he’d seen online “racist and hate-filled.”

Some comments on social media sites have been anti-First Nation, while others have supported vigilante justice against the suspect.

They continued following the bail decision.

Wall warned there could be repercussions for the people who post the hate-filled comments.

“There are laws that protect citizens from what this kind of hate may foment. They will be enforced,” Wall said on Facebook last Sunday.

[SOURCE]

Bail Granted To Gerald Stanley, Man Accused In Colten Boushie Shooting

_gerald-stanley-shooter-accused

Gerald Stanley is escorted into the Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford for a bail hearing on Thursday. (Don Somers/CBC)

54-year-old accused may not possess weapons, must avoid contact with Boushie’s family

CBC News Posted: Aug 19, 2016

Gerald Stanley, the man charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, has been granted bail.

The 54-year-old accused entered a not guilty plea at North Battleford court on Thursday before being transported to the Court of Queen’s Bench in Battleford for a bail hearing.

After hearing nearly two hours of arguments, judge Neil Gabrielson’s decision was released early Friday evening, setting Stanley’s bail at $10,000 and containing a number of conditions.

Stanley must stay within 6.4 kilometres of his home property, and have no direct contact with the family of Colten Boushie or any witnesses to the incident. He must also not travel within 32 kilometres of the Red Pheasant First Nation — where Boushie was from.

The accused also must not possess any weapons and enrol in the electronic monitoring program.

Defence lawyer Scott Spencer said the decision was not a legal victory, just procedure.

“The family is pleased with the decision,” Spencer said shortly after it was released.

“This decision allows us to properly prepare his defence.”

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan has asked for people not to retaliate.

“Again this isn’t the result we wanted but I am calling for calmness and peace in the face of what feels like injustice,” Jonathan said. She advised community members to “take the high road and keep peace.”

More than 200 people rallied outside the courthouses during Stanley’s appearances on Thursday, calling for “justice for Colten.”

Boushie was a passenger in a car with four other people when he was shot and killed on Aug. 9 on a farm near Biggar, Sask. His family says the group was going to ask for help with a flat tire.

His death has sparked racially charged exchanges online, leading to statements of condemnation from Premier Brad Wall, NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon and the National Farmers Union.

Stanley makes his next court appearance Sept. 13.

Many of the people gathered outside court as Gerald Stanley made his first appearance rallied for an end to racism in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

Many of the people gathered outside court as Gerald Stanley made his first appearance rallied for an end to racism in Saskatchewan. (CBC)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/judge-deliberates-gerald-stanley-bail-1.3727944

Racial Tensions Flare In Saskatchewan After Killing Of First Nations Man

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

The Canadian Press, Aug. 14, 2016

Racial tensions are flaring in Saskatchewan after the fatal shooting of a First Nations man who relatives say was just looking for help with a flat tire.

Colten Boushie, 22, was killed Tuesday after the vehicle he was in drove onto a farm in the rural municipality of Glenside, west of Saskatoon.

Boushie’s cousin, Eric Meechance, said he and three other friends were also in the car, heading home to the Red Pheasant First Nation after an afternoon spent swimming at a river.

But Meechance said they had a tire blow out and that’s how they ended up at the farm.

“That guy just come out of nowhere and he just smashed our window,” said Meechance.

Meechance said they tried to drive away, but ended up colliding with a parked car. He then ran for safety as gunshots rang out.

“Running is probably what saved all of our lives, you know, because if he’s going to shoot one, he’s probably would have shot us all,” he said.

“He wasn’t shooting to scare us. He was shooting to kill.”

Gerald Stanley, 54, is charged with second-degree murder. He is to make his next court appearance in North Battleford on Aug. 18.

Meechance said Boushie was a hard worker, mowing lawns and cutting wood to earn money.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise $10,000 to help Boushie’s family cover funeral expenses.

Another GoFundMe page has been set up to help Stanley’s wife. The hope is to raise $35,000.

That page has been set up by someone who said they live in the area. It says “much of the farming community around us who know this family know they (are) loving and deserving of some help through a difficult time.”

First Nations leaders say the RCMP news release about the shooting was biased.

The first police news release said that people in the car had been taken into custody as part of a theft investigation.

Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the RCMP statement “provided just enough prejudicial information” for people to draw the conclusion that the shooting was somehow justified.

“The messaging in an RCMP news release should not fuel racial tensions,” he said.

Chief Clint Wuttunee of the Red Pheasant First Nation said the media’s initial portrayal of the event, based on the RCMP release, made the incident sound like a crime was about to be committed by the passengers in the car.

The FSIN wants a review of the RCMP’s communication policies and writing guidelines.

Supt. Rob Cameron in Regina told reporters late Friday that being called biased is “deeply concerning.”

He wouldn’t comment on specifics of the case but said that RCMP handled the investigation fairly and competently.

“We have heard the concerns of the FSIN and we welcome the opportunity to discuss them and work together to address them,” Cameron said.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde, with the Assembly of First Nations, said he was particularly disturbed by “racist, derogatory comments” about the incident on social media. It’s a stark reminder of “how much work we have to do to eliminate racism and discrimination,” he said.

“In too many ways, this is a sad day for Saskatchewan,” he said in a statement.

Robert Innes, a University of Saskatchewan indigenous studies professor in Regina, said the situation shows the community divide.

“You can see that the racial tension is basically a tinder box in Saskatchewan,” said Innes.

Speaking generally, Innes said some farmers are blaming First Nations people for rural crime. Their mentality is to protect their property, he said.

“So there’s this real fear and contempt towards indigenous men by many white people, to the point where they will shoot before asking questions.”

Innes said indigenous people are angry that Boushie was killed.

He notes that some Caucasians are angry that the young people were even on the farm and believe Stanley is being railroaded by political correctness.

“A lot of people who are talking on social media are happy that the person was shot and killed and believe it was justified. That, to me, is kind of disturbing in a lot of ways.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/racial-tensions-flare-in-saskatchewan-after-killing-of-first-nations-man/article31401323/?cmpid=rss1

Family Looking For Justice After Deadly Shooting Of Colten Boushie, Near Biggar, Sask

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

Colten Boushie was killed on a farm near Biggar, Sask. on Aug. 9. (Facebook)

Funeral held for Colten Boushie

Red Power Media, Staff | August 13, 2016

A Saskatchewan First Nation held a funeral for Colten Boushie, shot dead Tuesday, on a property in the Rural Municipality of Glenside, —near Biggar Sask— about 90 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon.

According to CBC News, RCMP said five individuals came on to a private property and were confronted by the property owners.

Boushie, 22-years-old, was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.

“The news release the RCMP issued the following day provided just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified,” wrote FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron in a media release.

The occupants of the vehicle, including Boushie, were not known to the property owners and a verbal exchange broke out resulting in a firearm going off striking Boushie who was inside the vehicle.

Biggar RCMP charged a man with second-degree murder. He briefly appeared in North Battleford Provincial Court on Aug 11th.

Courtney Markewich reports, Family of Boushie, from as far away as Alberta and the northwest U.S., gathered on the Red Pheasant First Nation Saturday morning for the young man’s funeral.

CaptureCBC

Debbie Baptiste described her son, Colten Boushie, as a “good guy” who liked to help out his community on the Red Pheasant First Nation.

Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, said it wasn’t long ago that her son was one of the men in the community helping with other people’s funerals.

“We have our traditional ways out here, how we do things around here. And one of the things [is] when we’re burying somebody, a fire is lit and somebody has to watch it all night until morning,” Baptiste explained.

“So my sons would do that,” she said. “They’d sit out at that fire and they didn’t even know the person who was laying in there who they were burying, but they wanted to help and that’s how they’d help out.”

This time the fire was lit for her son, who Baptiste said was a well-educated and caring young man.

Family from as far away as Alberta and the northwest U.S. gathered on the Red Pheasant First Nation Saturday morning for the funeral of Colten Boushie. (OLIVIER FERAPIE/RADIO-CANADA)

Family from as far away as Alberta and the northwest U.S. gathered on the Red Pheasant First Nation Saturday morning for the funeral of Colten Boushie. (OLIVIER FERAPIE/RADIO-CANADA)

Looking for Justice 

Many mourners on the First Nation said there are a lot of questions about what happened the day Boushie was killed and how the RCMP handled releasing information about it.

“We don’t want this to be swept under the rug,” Alvin Baptiste, Boushie’s uncle, said.

“We’re focused on laying Colten to rest right now but now my family will stand up and they’re ready to support and rally for justice.”

Go Fund Me campaigns

Go Fund Me page was started for Boushie’s family asking for donations so they could host a proper post-funeral feast and other funeral expenses.

As of Friday night the Go Fund Me page raised $8,690 of its $10,000 goal. While the family’s fundraising campaign was embraced on social media, another campaign was quickly launched and shut down.

The alleged shooter’s campaign, apparently to raise money to pay for his legal defence, reached $1,000 before it was shut down. The crowdfunding site has a policy against fundraising in support of people accused of being involved in criminal activities.

Gerald Stanley, 54, of Biggar, has been remanded into custody until Aug 18th.

A facebook event called Justice for Colten has also been made with a rally outside the Provincial Court House in North Battleford on Aug 18th at 9 AM.