One of two men charged in connection with an alleged gaybashing Oct 8 near Vancouver’s Tinseltown has been approved for alternative measures rather than jail or other punishment, a Downtown Community Court judge heard on March 22.
Michael Anton Hostland of Port Moody has been charged with one count of assault, and Dustin James Sciog of Fort St John has been charged with three counts of assault. Both men are in their early 20s.
Hostland was not in court on March 22. He was represented before Judge Elizabeth Burgess by lawyer Brian Mickelson’s articling law student Jessica England.
It was England who told Burgess of the approval.
According to the Law Courts Education Society of BC, alternative measures may be agreed to by the Crown if the crime was not serious, if the accused has no criminal record or only a very minor record from a long time ago, and if the accused committed the offence, admits guilt and takes responsibility for his actions.
Should that occur, the person would likely have to write a letter of apology, go for counselling and do some community work service.
If that work is done successfully, the charge is stayed in court and the accused receives no criminal record.
Hostland is due back in court on April 5.
Sciog’s next appearance is scheduled for April 21.
On Feb 15, Sciog’s lawyer, Michael Mines, told the court that he and prosecutor Grant Wong were discussing the possibility of an early resolution in Sciog’s case. The docket posted outside the Downtown Community Court courtroom said Sciog’s appearance was for “intention to enter a guilty plea.”
Mines said the case was not straightforward and discussions were still underway with the Crown. The case was adjourned again when it returned to court on March 16.
The charges stem from an attack last fall on Thomas Pope, who claims he was repeatedly called a faggot and punched near the corner of Abbott and Pender streets.
Pope was waiting for friends outside the McDonald’s at Tinseltown when he alleges a man grabbed him by his shirt and started punching him in the face, while calling him a faggot.
The man then punched one of Pope’s friends in the face and knocked out his tooth after his friend tried to intervene, Pope alleges.
Pope says police arrived quickly on the scene and handcuffed two men but let them go.
Police said in a Nov 22 statement that they had asked the Crown to “assess the evidence that homophobic comments were allegedly made when determining if there is enough to support sentencing recommendations under hate-crime provisions.”
It remains to be seen if the Crown will seek a hate-crime designation in the case and how that might work in the context of alternative measures.