SERIOUS ERROR IN JUDGMENT – in a Melfort Courtroom
Ottawa, ON (April 2, 2007) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada is shocked by the jurors’ decision in a Melfort courtroom to acquit Jeffrey Kindrat in the sexual assault case involving a young Aboriginal girl.
NWAC President Beverley Jacobs says, “For the jury to deliberate for only two hours and come back with a unanimous acquittal in this case, is a serious error in judgment.”
She adds, “It doesn’t matter what the accused assumed the girl’s age was at the time of the assault, the fact remains, she was only 12 years old – too young to give adults consent. With this ruling, the victim has been re-victimized and justice was not served.”Aboriginal women across Canada must add a voice of support to all of those in the courtroom who yelled out “no justice” following the verdict. NWAC believes the jurors had a moral and legal responsibility to examine all of the evidence and if they did their due diligence, they would have read evidence which showed the victim weighed only 94 pounds and was small in stature. Clearly, logic and common sense would have told them it was highly unlikely the victim was much older than 12 at the time of the sexual assault. And besides, just because she consented to go for a ride in the truck, didn’t mean she also consented to having sex.
“Clearly, we are concerned about the impact this judgment could have on future court cases,” says President Jacobs.
“NWAC is calling on the government to close the huge legal loophole. The honest and reasonable belief defence must to be removed from the Criminal Code to protect all young people,” concludes President Jacobs.
Defence Lawyer Morris Bodnar is quoted as saying, “”I only get demonstrations when I have a white client and an aboriginal victim, never when I have an aboriginal client and white victim.”
NWAC asks the question, “What does Bodnar and the justice system not understand?”
Although, the defence is claiming the judge gave a flawless 2 ½ hour charge to the jury, which left no grounds to pursue the case, NWAC urges the crown prosecutor to examine all avenues for possible appeal.
NWAC’s mission is to help empower women by being involved in developing and changing legislation, which affects them, and by involving them in the development and delivery of programs promoting equal opportunity for Aboriginal women.
For further information:
Robert J. McDonald
Team Lead of Communications and Education
Cell: (613) 295-2719 or Wk: (613) 722-3033