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Accused gaybasher expected to plead guilty Wednesday

But Michael Kandola says it wasn't a hate crime

Michael Kandola is expected to plead guilty tomorrow to assaulting Jordan Smith on Davie St in September 2008. But he claims it wasn't a gaybashing. Credit: Jeremy Hainsworth

The man accused of gaybashing Jordan Smith on Vancouver’s Davie St in September 2008 is expected to plead guilty to assault causing bodily harm in BC Supreme Court March 31.

Michael Kandola was originally charged with aggravated assault.

Defence lawyer Danny Markovitz says the Crown intends to argue at sentencing on April 26 that there was a hate element to the crime.

However, Kandola intends to fight such a designation being attached to his sentence, his lawyer says.

The maximum sentence for assault causing bodily harm is 10 years. The sentence for aggravated assault is 14 years.

A hate-crime designation would increase Kandola’s punishment.

Crown spokesperson Neil Mackenzie could not comment on arguments for a hate-crime designation.

“Out of deference to the court, we don’t discuss that until we get to court,” Mackenzie says. “That’s the appropriate forum.”

Smith was holding hands with another man on Davie St when he was attacked by five men, one of them allegedly Kandola.

The group allegedly yelled anti-gay slurs, including “You fucking faggot!”

Kandola then allegedly sucker punched Smith, who fell to the ground unconscious, his jaw broken.

Kandola allegedly screamed homophobic obscenities throughout the incident.

Smith wound up in hospital and had to have his jaw wired shut for a month and a half to heal.

Kandola’s lawyer Danny Markovitz says he will concede homophobic remarks were made but denies the attack was motivated by hate.

“His words are stupid, juvenile,” Markovitz says. “Kandola couldn’t care less if someone is gay, white, black or anything else under the sun.”

Markovitz says a tape taken from a security camera will be played as part of the two-day April 26/27 sentencing hearing.

Kandola is expected to appear by teleconference for the March 31 hearing.

He has been in custody since his bail was revoked last month after he was charged with robbery and use of an imitation firearm in connection with a jewellery store robbery in Surrey in June 2009.