On January 6, an Alberta farmer named Bradley Smith was sentenced to life in prison for the shooting deaths of two Métis hunters. Smith had previously been convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Eric Meechance.
The incident took place in August of 2016, when Boushie and Meechance, along with three other friends, drove onto Smith’s property after their car had a flat tire. Smith’s father, who was with him at the time, chased the group down a public road and confronted them.
During the confrontation, Bradley Smith shot and killed Boushie and Meechance. The other three individuals in the group were able to escape and call for help.
The case received widespread attention and sparked outrage, with many people accusing the justice system of being biased against Indigenous people. The trial was also marked by controversial statements made by the defense team, including an argument that Smith should be acquitted because he was acting in self-defense.
In the end, however, the jury found Smith guilty of second-degree murder. On January 6, he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 13 years.
The families of Boushie and Meechance have expressed relief at the verdict, but have also called for further reforms to address the systemic racism and discrimination that Indigenous people face in the justice system.