Tuesday, June 08, 2010

So much for self-defence

So much for self-defence. Chris Bishop was found guilty on all charges after the jury spent about eight hours in deliberations.

I've been following the case pretty close, probably more than I usually would simply because I nearly ended up on the jury for that trial. Well, nearly is a lose term. I was summoned for jury duty, but got an exemption. And as I've said before, it's kind of too bad. I've always been interested in serving on a jury.

Trying to get a proper read on the trial just from reading Nunatsiaq News and CBC is a challenge. Not that their coverage was bad, but obviously it's not the same as if I were actually sitting in the jury box and getting the information directly. Or even seeing how he was reacting in court. This is a link to the story about the lawyers closing arguments.

The question, of course, was never if he killed and wounded those people. He did. That was never in doubt. The question always was if it was murder or self-defence. Following the coverage, I tended to be on the fence on it. They did break into his house. They did threaten him. The police had not yet responded to his repeated phone calls for assistance.

On the other hand, he shot them using a gun with an illegal clip. He pumped a lot of ammo at the people who were breaking into the house, when a warning shot might have done. Even if he had shot one of them, it probably would have been enough to get people to believe a self-defence claim. But he shot five people, killing three and wounding two.

But I think the thing that damned him was that all the witnesses said he had a perfectly calm demeanor when he was doing this. Plus, he shot one of the men in the back as he was attempting to flee.

Self-defence gets you so far. I would have been inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt on being caught up in the moment, scared and just pulling the trigger in the hopes of scaring people off. But shooting that last guy in the back, I think that was the tipping point for a lot of people.

There was obviously some bad blood between these people, although what it was over I never read, or I just missed, in the stories. I think that, combined with shooting one man in the back is what did it in for him.

I still have no idea why Bishop's lawyer didn't offer up any direct evidence or testimony. Bishop made a big deal about wanting to get his own lawyer because all the lawyers he dealt with through Legal Aid in Nunavut wanted him to plead guilty. I thought he might even put Bishop on the stand and let him have his say. Granted, these things tend to backfire, because the crown then has a shot at him, but who knows.

I suspect there's going to be an appeal of some sort. I doubt this is the last we'll hear of the case. He might argue that because of how tight-knit the community is in Nunavut that it was impossible for him to get a fair trial. Or there might be some legal loophole for him to exploit. Whatever it is, I doubt this is the last time we'll hear his name.

Last Five
1. Dilly - Band of Horses
2. No reason - The Pursuit of Happiness
3. Secondary waltz - Mark Knopfler*
4. Get off - The Dandy Warhols
5. The grim trucker - Ron Sexsmith

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just thought you might be curious to know that I used to know this guy, sort of. I was friends with his brother. I remember once he stole a CD of his brother's and sliced a big gash in it for no reason. Really quiet and unhappy guy. I remember him talking about guns and target practicing with pellet guns back then and it's eerie to think of this now.

I read another comment somewhere that he used to hurt/kill animals and while I never witnessed it, it wouldn't surprise me.