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Another alleged gaybasher pleads guilty

Will Crown seek a hate crime designation?

 The youth charged with attacking a gay man near Commercial Dr last December has pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm.

The accused was 17 at the time of the alleged gaybashing but turned 18 on December 30. He cannot be named under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

He appeared in court on May 20 with his parents.

He would not comment on his decision to plead guilty.

“Can you mind your business?” he asked Xtra outside court. “This is my business.”

His lawyer, Ken Roesch, would not comment on the plea either.

“I’m not prepared to discuss this with you,” he told Xtra.

Roesch also declined to comment when asked if the plea had anything to do with the hate designation given to Michael Kandola by BC Supreme Court Justice Joel Groves on April 30.

Kandola pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in a homophobic attack on Jordan Smith in Vancouver’s gay village.

Smith and his boyfriend, Charles McKay, had been walking hand in hand up Davie St in September 2008 when they heard taunts of “Faggots” and “What the fuck is this?” from a group of men behind them.

Smith needed emergency surgery for a broken jaw, had his jaw wired shut and suffered a concussion in the ensuing attack.

The 31-year-old gay man attacked near Commercial Dr also needed surgery for a broken jaw after allegedly being targeted with homophobic slurs and repeatedly punched and kicked last December.

In a December 14 interview with Xtra, Billy who would only give his first name, alleged he was leaving a house party with friends when a man standing nearby began to harass them. “He pushed my girl friend on the floor. I went to help her up and he kicked me in the face by my eye,” Billy alleged.

“He was trying to follow my lady friends, who were with me,” Billy continued. “I was like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go,’ and he was like, ‘Shut up, you fucking fag,’ and then he just started beating me.

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

Commercial Dr is also a popular queer area.

In order for him to rule Kandola’s assault on Smith was a hate crime, Justice Groves said the Crown needed to prove homophobic language was used before, during or after the assault; that the attack occurred in a gay area; that there was no previous interaction between the parties; and that no alternate explanation was available.

Crown spokesperson Neil Mackenzie could not be reached to ask if Crown intends to pursue this case as a hate crime too.

Police say they received a call about a number of people fighting around 5 am on December 13 at E 3rd and Commercial Dr.

Vancouver Police Department Const Jana McGuinness said at the time it was a verbal altercation that turned into physical violence.

Asked if the police report indicates homophobic remarks were made during the incident, McGuinness said there was “an indication that some statements were made to the victim by the person who assaulted him,” but declined to elaborate.

Such evidence would have gone to the VPD hate crime unit as part of the investigation, McGuinness said.