HAMILTON,ONT- The Attorney General office is appealing the “not guilty” verdict awarded a Binbrook man in the shooting death of Jonathan Styres of Six Nations.
The Attorney General’s office announced today (July 20 2018) they are appealing Peter Khill’s not guilty verdict seeking it be set aside and a new trial ordered.
A jury acquitted Khill, of second degree murder June 27, 2018 in the shooting of Jonathan Styres. The jury, that had been screened for potential racism, found Khill acted in self-defence in confronting Styres, at 3 a.m. who had been searching through Khill’s truck that was parked in Khill’s driveway.
The court was told race did not play a role in the shooting, but concerns it may influence the verdict had Indigenous communities and legal experts following the two week trial that delivered a verdict that stunned Styres family, friends and community and sparked a demonstration at Queen’s Park on Canada Day and letter writing campaign from a group called “Justice for Jonathan.”
The Crown’s office is also appealing based on the judge instructing the jury to consider Khill’s military training as a factor in their assessment of reasonableness.
The crown is appealing the judge’s decision to allow a non-expert witness to give an opinion on whether Khill’s military training continued to affect his actions. The crown said the judge allowed, “Dr Miller to give opinion evidence, that the effect of the military training Khill had received could continue to be operative in respect of Mr. Khill’s actions on Feb., 4th, 2016 even though it was in a non-military situation, when Dr Miller was not qualified to give that evidence.”
“We are relieved that the Crown is moving ahead with the appeal.” said Barb General, Director of the Six Nations Justice Department. “The verdict has left people feeling like it is open season for violence on Indigenous people – we are grateful that the Crown is continuing to fight for justice in this case.”
Six Nations Elected Council called on the Ministry to appeal the verdict and for an overhaul of the criminal justice system to address systemic racism and the recognition and affirmation of Indigenous justice systems.