Felix Carter
Felix Carter asked:

Why was this Raymond Cormier... acquitted of Tina Fontaine murder?

Arun Jolly Thank you for the question, Mr Carter.

My sister explains in the prologue to her book that "We still don't know how Tina Fontaine died. The case against Cormier, described to me by O'Donovan as compelling and conclusive, proved to be circumstantial and weak."

Essentially, the pathologist and his senior colleagues concluded that the cause of Tina's death was "undetermined".

"There are possibilities other than homicide, such as accidental death from drowning, after which someone could have concealed her body".

The only hope the Winnipeg police had of getting a conviction was from a confession that they never obtained despite pouring a huge amount of resources into getting one using the controversial 'Mr Big' technique. This was why the jury found Cormier not guity and the Manitoba Prosecution Service determined that the trial was fair and "there are no grounds to base a successful appeal".

This is a very interesting book because there are two sub-trials to that of Cormier's. To a certain extent, the Winnipeg police are on trial but so is the author. She brought this case to the attention of the world and so is responsible for a lot of the pressure the Winnipeg police were under to solve it. Their only option was to use a technique that was legally available to them but what would have happened if they had got a confession?

Would female rights campaigners have gone into conflict with human rights campaigners and tried to make the 'Mr Big' technique legal in all the countries it has been banned in?

Should justice be for all or only for your own tribe?
Joanna Jolly Hi Felix,

Apologies for the late reply, I've only just seen this question. The answer I'm afraid is long and complicated and is best understood by reading the book, but in short, there wasn't enough evidence. I think Cormier's case highlights the issues faced by the judicial system when dealing with violence against Indigenous women and girls. This is a strong argument for closer cooperation with and better understanding of the Indigenous community by all state institutions.
Thanks for your interest in Red River Girl.
Best, Joanna
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by Joanna Jolly (Goodreads Author)
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