Jury selection has begun in the second degree murder trial of a white man accused of shooting and killing an indigenous man on his Hamilton driveway.
Today, approximately 250 prospective jurors crowded a John Sopinka Courtroom where they were asked about their racial bias to determine if they will be among the 12 people deciding Peter Khill’s fate.
Twenty-seven-year-old Peter Khill, who has been out on bail since two weeks after his arrest in 2016, intends to plead not guilty to the death of twenty-nine-year-old Jon Styres.
In the early morning hours of February 4th, 2016, police were called to Khill’s home on Highway 56 in Binbrook. Khill, a millwright and former military reservist, had shot a man he believed was trying to steal his truck. The question the jury will need to answer is: was it justified?
The twenty-nine-year-old father of two from Six Nations died at the scene shortly after police arrived.
Today, a group of 250 potential jurors were asked a simple question: would your ability to judge the evidence in this case be affected by the fact the deceased is an Indigenous person and the accused is a white man?
This question is crucial, as the Six Nations elected council has recently called for an overhaul of the justice system and for a First Nations presence on the jury, they say they are watching this trial closely.
And that “there are long standing concerns that the jury system, in particular, is unfair to indigenous people.”
This trial echoes the shooting death of Colten Boushie, an Indigenous man in Saskatchewan.
Protests erupted after an all-white jury reached a not-guilty verdict against the accused.
Peter Khill’s trial is expected to begin tomorrow as soon as the jury has been finalized and the case will last three to four weeks.