A Vancouver youth court judge issued an arrest warrant on Sept 19 when the youth charged in an alleged 2009 gaybashing off Commercial Dr failed to show up in court.
Just four days earlier, Judge Conni Bagnall had informed the youth’s third lawyer, Evi dos Santos, that the “matter will be resolved.”
She instructed the accused, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, to schedule a date for an arraignment hearing with the court’s judicial case manager.
That date was Sept 19. While dos Santos attended court in the morning, the youth failed to appear before Judge Rosemary Gallagher in the afternoon.
The ensuing warrant for the youth’s arrest is the latest in a litany of delays that has plagued the case. Twice, warrants have been prepared for the youth’s arrest when he has been late or he and his lawyer have not attended court. He was late again on Sept 1, delaying the hearing half an hour and narrowly avoiding an arrest warrant.
He has delayed trial in the case for more than a year, changing his plea, firing two lawyers and now not turning up at all.
On Sept 15, Crown counsel Ann Seymour described the case as a “very old matter.”
The youth is charged with assault causing bodily harm in a case in which he allegedly kicked a man in the head while repeatedly calling him a “fucking faggot” and “you fucking gay.” The youth was 17 at the time of the alleged incident. He is now 19.
The man he allegedly attacked needed surgery to fix his jaw.
A trial was initially scheduled for July 2010 but was delayed as a result of conflicting reports of the alleged offence. The youth initially pled guilty, then changed his plea to not guilty, fired his first lawyer and hired a second lawyer for a spring trial.
A March trial date had to be rescheduled as the youth’s then-lawyer was doubled-booked. The trial was rescheduled to three days starting Aug 22. It was put off again after the accused fired his second lawyer.
Another appearance date is now set for Sept 22, but what happens depends on whether or not the youth is arrested, Seymour tells Xtra.
On Sept 1, Crown had suggested having the youth show up every day until the matter is dealt with. “This matter is 605 days old,” Justice of the Peace Judy Norton told the youth that day. “This matter should have been cleared up well over a year ago.”