What’s Current: Crown won’t appeal acquittal of Raymond Cormier in Tina Fontaine’s murder

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • The Crown will not appeal the acquittal of a man who was accused of killing 15-year-old Tina Fontaine and dumping her body in a Winnipeg river. Last month, a jury found Raymond Cormier not guilty of second-degree murder in the Indigenous girl’s death.
  • Sherry Johnson, a Florida woman who was forced to marry her rapist at the age of 11, has finally won her years-long campaign to get the state to ban marriage for children 16 and younger, and to forbid 17-year-olds to marry anyone more than two years older.
  • A south London man is facing criminal charges for using FGM to punish his daughter for perceived misbehavior, and for criminal cruelty to his other children.
  • The City of London (Ontario) claims it takes sexual harassment seriously, but the executive director of the London Abused Women’s Centre, Megan Walker, says victims are facing retaliation and unsympathetic law enforcement.
  • A Canadian military court has found a sailor based in Halifax guilty of sexually assaulting a subordinate.
Natasha Chart
Natasha Chart

Natasha Chart is an online organizer and feminist living in the United States. She does not recant her heresy.

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  • Christine

    From the Globe story Natasha links to (this will infuriate any right-minded person):

    Defence lawyer Anthony Kavanagh said Tuesday the acquittal was the right decision.

    “The diverse and extremely representative jury did their job honourably,” Kavanagh wrote in a text message.

    “Simply put, evidence — not emotion — is required for a conviction and despite the human desire to find a convenient scapegoat, justice was done here.”

    What a shameless thing to say! Asshole, I guess you never read Réné Girard, so take it from me: the term ‘scapegoat’ does not apply when the accused all but admits to the crime! The term ‘justice’ applies even less! (Would you believe his cell number appears on his firm’s website? http://www.kavawood.ca/our-lawyers/ I have half a mind to leave him several messages to this effect…)

    I’m not surprised the Crown is not appealing, but it’s still disappointing.

    It is my understanding that it is much harder to appeal a jury decision than it is to appeal a decision by judge alone. The appellant has to establish that there was an error in the judge’s instructions to the jury.

    Plus, as both defence and Crown have been reminding everyone, there is no (admissible) evidence. I wish they would shut up. I’m sure most psychopaths are aware that rivers are good places to dispose of bodies, but does that need to be pointed out in every news story just in case any idiot racist misogynist out there hasn’t had the idea occur to him?

    The Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine cases have shown that the average member of the Canadian public cannot be trusted to treat Indigenous people as human beings. Of course judges are far from perfect, but I have more confidence in the courts than I do in my peers. I think the justice system needs to consider waiving an accused’s right to trial by jury in any murder case wherein the victim is Indigenous. (Or at least make jury deliberations public, as one lawyer argued a few weeks back: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/tina-fontaine-colten-boushie-justice-denied-1.4549469. Then the prosecution might have grounds to appeal.)