March 3, 1998

Aboriginal groups angry about appeal court ruling

Pamela George
Pamela George

REGINA — A ruling by Saskatchewan's highest court is stirring up more anger in the aboriginal community over the case of two men convicted of manslaughter in the beating death of a prostitute.

The province's Court of Appeal has ruled that the two men will not have to stand trial again for murder.

Steven Kummerfield and Alex Ternowetsky were charged with first degree murder in the beating death of Pamela George. However, a jury found them guilty of manslaughter, and the men were sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

During the trial, the judge told the jury to keep in mind that George was a prostitute, and that it would be dangerous to convict the men on the murder charge.

The crown asked for a new trial, arguing that the judge had effectively ruled out a murder conviction.

The appeal court has rejected the crown's argument. In its decision, it said the trial judge had made it clear that the jury did not have to accept his views.

Native and women's groups say they're disgusted by the decision. They say it is another example of racism and sexism in the justice system.

Kummerfield and Ternowetsky are eligible for parole in just over two years.

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Last modified: January 19, 2001
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