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Alleged Tinseltown bashers may avoid trial

Accused may resolve charges without convictions

The charges laid against two men in connection with an alleged Oct 8 gaybashing near Vancouver’s Tinseltown Mall could be settled without going to trial, Downtown community court Judge Thomas Gove heard Feb 15.
The accused both stand charged with assault: Michael Anton Hostland of Port Moody with one count and Dustin James Sciog of Fort St John with three counts. Neither of the men, who are both in their 20s, was in court for the fourth appearance on the matter.
The charges stem from an alleged attack on Thomas Pope, who claims he was repeatedly called a “faggot” and punched near the corner of Abbott and Pender streets last October.
Pope was waiting for two friends outside the Tinseltown McDonald’s when he alleges that one of the accused grabbed him by his shirt pocket, ripped the buttons off and started punching him in the face while calling him a faggot.
Pope also alleges that the man then punched one of Pope’s friends in the face and knocked out his tooth when he tried to intervene. 
During the Feb 15 court date, Prosecutor Grant Wong told Judge Gove that discussions around the case were continuing. Sciog’s lawyer, Michael Mines, said that he and Wong are discussing the possibility of an early resolution in Sciog’s case.  
“We’re having discussions about the possibility of resolving this without a trial,” he tells Xtra.
Articling student Jessica England, appearing on behalf of Hostland’s lawyer, Brian Mickelson, told Gove that Hostland’s charges could be dealt with through the alternative measures process.
Alternative measures is a community supervision program that allows charges to be stayed when agreed to by the Crown. The process, also known as “diversion,” requires certain conditions to be met: the crime was not serious, the accused has no criminal record (or a very minor one from some time ago), and the accused admits guilt and takes responsibility for his or her actions.
In addition, the accused would likely have to write a letter of apology, undergo counseling and complete some community service.
If all of the conditions are met successfully, the charge is stayed in court and the accused receives no criminal record.
Sciog returns to court on March 1; Hostland returns on March 22