Thunder Bay, ON – The long-awaited trial of Brayden Bushby in the death of Barbara Kentner began today at the Courthouse Hotel, which was the former courthouse, on Camelot Street in Thunder Bay, Ontario with Judge Helen Pierce presiding.
The move to the old court was required due to a fire at the Thunder Bay District Court that has closed the building
A Sacred Fire had been lit in the early morning during a sunrise ceremony on November 2, 2020, where Everest Funeral Home, on Waverley Street, has supported the fire to be lit in the back parking lot until during the trial until Friday, November 6, 2020. A Sunrise and Pipe ceremony followed, along with four songs which were sung by Indigenous women community leaders.
The Sacred Fire, which is protected by healing cedar that surrounds the fire of prayers and offerings is for all those who support the trial and for those who have lost loved ones. All are welcomed to go and say a prayer for your MMIWGTSMB family and offer tobacco and prayers to the fire.
If you have posters, signs for MMIWGMBTS, they are welcomed to hang on the fence for the week along Algoma Street.
“Being forced to adopt the ways of others was not what our Ancestor’s intended when they entered into treaties with the Queen”, says Chief Dean Owen, Pikangikum First Nation.
Brayden Bushby, who was 18-years-old at the time of the actions in this matter before the court is pleading not guilty to manslaughter but is pleading guilty to one count of aggravated assault in the death of Barbara Kentner, a 34-year-old woman who died in July 2017, from injuries suffered after she was struck by a trailer hitch that was thrown from a passing car driving down Mckenzie Street and Cameron Street Area.
Defense Council sought to argue that the matter was not a hate crime, and blamed the media for seeking to frame the attack on Barbara Kentner as that.
George Joseph, the lawyer for Bushby told the court that “The question before the court is whether there is a legal link between Bushby’s actions and Kentner’s death, as opposed to a medical link”.
“While the public is free to speculate on how and why things happened, the rest of us in this courtroom are governed by the rule of law and the evidentiary foundation in which to apply that principle.”
That argument, outside of the courtroom with many people isn’t carrying a lot of weight.
The real question many are asking is why only one of the occupants of the vehicle was charged. Many people would like an answer to the question of how loading a heavy trailer hitch into the vehicle was not a pre-meditated decision to harm someone.
Two of the other people who were also in the same vehicle as Brayden Bushby; Jordan Crupi, and Nathan Antonizyn were named from transcripts from the preliminary hearings which are being entered into evidence but not being read out in court.
Crown Attorney Sadler explained to the court why the charges were reduced in this case.
“It became apparent to the Crown that the only way to ensure that this trial could proceed this fall would be before a judge sitting without a jury. It was also apparent that this could not happen, in this case, on the charge of murder,” Crown told the court.
In July 2017, six months after getting hit in the stomach by that heavy trailer hitch, Barbara Kentner died in the hospital at the age of 34.
The Crown explained that due to COVID-19 there was no possibility of a jury trial and that was one of the reasons behind the charges being dropped from murder to aggravated assault and manslaughter.
Sacred Fire and Beat of the Drum Echoes Downtown
As the sacred fire lit the night, the sacred fire grew apparent during the first evening of the rollout of how justice plays a role in one’s family.
Melissa Kentner told Netnewsledger that, it was a hard day today in court. George Jeffrey, Lawyer for accused, Brayden Bushby, tried to take the focus away from her sister the night of the violent attack of a hate crime, by a passing vehicle which had three people in it, and the accused who picked up a heavy trailer hitch and with such a force, struck her sister, Barbara Kentner in the stomach.
As the big drum echoed its power through the streets and off the buildings, the healing full moon shining love down upon the sacredness of all truth in his image. The jingle dress was sounding as the women’s round dance played and the youth and children showing great respect as they danced and felt the balance that our Indigenous culture brings.