Peter Khill files statement of defence in $2-million Styres lawsuit

"Unfortunately, I can't offer any further comment at this time. It would be unfair to the process."

None of the allegations in the civil suit have been tested in court.

In June, a jury in Khill's criminal case found him not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Styres' death.

Khill, 26 at the time of the deadly encounter, acknowledged in the two-week trial he'd shot Styres, 29, when he found him in his truck.

But the former military reservist argued he acted in self-defence, saying he feared for his life when Styres lifted his hands to "gun height."

Styres, however, didn't have a gun.

The verdict drew a deep gulf between those who supported the decision and others who believed race was a factor in the acquittal.

It served as a rallying cry for Indigenous protesters and leaders to not only appeal the verdict but reform the justice system.

In July, the Crown filed an appeal arguing Justice Stephen Glithero didn't properly instruct the jury on self-defence. The Crown also argues the judge allowed an unqualified witness to opine about the effect of Khill's military training.

Styres' family launched the lawsuit in Jan. 31, 2018, months before the not-guilty verdict. They have claimed "loss of care, guidance and companionship," "mental distress" and "psychological damage," as well as loss of income and services.

In addition to $2 million in damages, the lawsuit seeks aggravated and punitive damages of $250,000.

The next step in the civil case would be discovery, Hooper noted. No trial date has been set.

The Khill verdict came after an all-white jury in Saskatchewan acquitted a white Saskatchewan farmer in the shooting death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old Cree man.

Six Nations Elected Council has called on Ottawa to "overhaul" the justice system, which "overrepresents Indigenous people as victims and accused persons, and chronically underachieves justice."

Parts of Bill C-75, which Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced in March, are meant to address this. A standing committee report on the bill was presented to the House of Commons Nov. 2.

tmoro@thespec.com

905-526-3264 | @TeviahMoro

tmoro@thespec.com

905-526-3264 | @TeviahMoro

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