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Accused gaybasher now wants to plead not guilty

Five months after pleading guilty

The youth accused of gaybashing a man last December off Commercial Dr now wants to plead not guilty.

The youth, who can’t be named by law because he was 17 at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm on May 20.

He was in court Oct 19 supposedly for an application to strike a plea, but the case was delayed again. Such delays have become the major hallmark of the case.

Crown prosecutor Ann Seymour told Judge Paul Meyers the youth’s new lawyer wants to appear on Oct 26 to set a future date for an application to strike the guilty plea made in May.

The post-guilty-plea sentencing was due to begin on July 6 but was delayed to Sept 29 due to “very significant” differences between the accused’s version of events and those of the victim and witnesses.

So the sentencing was put over to Oct 14.

Then it was delayed again after the youth fired his lawyer.

It was delayed once more on Oct 19 when the youth’s new lawyer was on a case in Richmond. She could not attend court in downtown Vancouver, Seymour told Meyers.

Asked by Meyers what would have happened had the lawyer been there, Seymour said an agreement would have been reached on the plea being struck or a date would have been set.

The case now goes to Oct 26 to set a future date for the application to strike the plea.

Seymour told the judge the Crown has concerns about the delays in the case.

“It’s been taking a long time,” she said.

The Oct 14 hearing began late because the youth was a no-show. He turned up more than an hour later with his parents and told the judge he’d been unable to find the courtroom.

His name had been posted on the main docket list and on the list outside the courtroom – a room in which he had already appeared numerous times.

On Oct 19, he was five minutes late.

The man the youth allegedly attacked underwent surgery on Dec 14 for a broken jaw after allegedly being targeted with homophobic slurs and repeatedly punched and kicked.

Billy (who gave Xtra only his first name) said he was leaving a house party with friends when a man standing nearby began to harass them.

“He pushed my girlfriend on the floor. I went to help her up and he kicked me in the face by my eye,” Billy alleged.

“He called me a ‘fucking faggot,’ ‘you fucking gay,’ ‘you piece of shit,’ ‘you’re worthless’ – just kept on calling me ‘fag, fag, fag.'”

It remains to be seen if the case will be pursued as a hate crime at sentencing.