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Accused in Jordan Smith assault faces trial in Apr 2010

Kandola opts for judge-only trial

The man accused of breaking Jordan Smith’s jaw in three places on Davie St last September will go to trial before a BC Supreme Court judge without a jury Apr 26-30.

Michael Kandola is charged with aggravated assault in the case.

Provincial Court judge Malcolm MacLean set Kandola over for trial after a brief preliminary hearing last month. The evidence presented at the Aug 6 preliminary inquiry and submissions related to it cannot be published due to a publication ban. However, evidence presented once the trial begins can be reported

Kandola allegedly punched Smith, 27 after a group of men yelled homophobic insults at Smith and his partner, Charles McKay, as they walked hand-in-hand up Davie St Sep 27, 2008. Smith underwent surgery after the attack to have his jaw wired shut so it could heal.

Police seized a surveillance video from the 7-Eleven at the corner of Davie and Hornby, the intersection where the attack took place.

Kandola’s lawyer, Danny Markowitz, told Xtra West in June that the video shows it was his client who threw the punch that felled Smith. Police say Smith fell to the ground.

Markovitz said there is no sound on the tape so any alleged slurs cannot be determined.

However, Markovitz adds, it appears someone in Kandola’s group said something to which Smith may have taken offence. Markovitz said the video shows Smith turned back, followed by his friend,

The alleged assault led the queer community to call for Crown to invoke the hate crime provisions in the Criminal Code. While an accused cannot be charged with a hate crime, Code provisions allow the court to increase punishment at sentencing if the evidence presented at trial shows hate was an aggravating factor in the case.

The Crown has repeatedly said it will look closely at the alleged hate factors in this case.

The Kandola case is one of two alleged gaybashings currently before Vancouver Provincial Court.

Shawn Woodward is set for trial Jul 21-26 on charges of aggravated assault stemming from an incident at the Fountainhead Pub.

The alleged gaybashing at the pub occurred Mar 13 during which a punch knocked 62-year-old Ritchie Dowrey to the ground where he hit his head.

The suspect then left the bar and was pursued by other patrons who held him for police.

“He’s a faggot. He deserved it. I’m not a fag. The faggot touched me. He deserved it,” Woodward allegedly told witnesses after the incident.