Toronto
2 min

Bijou numbers don’t add up

Chief Crown attorney, uhm, misspeaks himself?

STILL FUCKED. At least four men are still facing Bijou indecency charges. Credit: Mark Bogdanovic

It’s not over. Some of the men charged in The Bijou raids are still trapped in the criminal courts.



Although chief Crown attorney Paul Culver promised to drop indecency charges against all 18 men, Xtra counts only 14 off the hook. There are still at least four lost in the system. Culver says two.



“We tried to remand them all to [Sep] 9th,” Culver says. “There were some that had already been remanded past the ninth.



“The short answer is they’re all going to be withdrawn on their next court date. It somehow got lost in the shuffle.”



But Culver says gay men are on notice: This is a special case. In future, charges filed against men having sex in public spaces like The Bijou will be prosecuted.



“There may have been some confusion between the police and certain

members of the community about how the law prohibiting sex in public should be applied or enforced,” Culver announced in court earlier this month in a dramatic prepared statement.



“The confusion that there might have been at that time leads the

Crown to conclude that it is not possible to successfully prosecute these particular charges.”



Culver said homos may have been “lulled” into a false sense of security by recent years of police “inaction.”



“The message is that this type of activity is illegal,” he said,

claiming a recent Supreme Court Of Canada ruling against lap dancing makes all sex acts in commercial premises criminal.



Culver vowed to prosecute similar cases in the future, and Ontario’s attorney-general wasted no time supporting future police action.



“People should respect the law as it is written,” Tory James Flaherty told a Toronto daily.



The chill has Bijou owner Craig Anderson fearing the worst.



“I’m not sure that they did back down,” says Anderson, whose bar

still faces 14 liquor charges. “It was accompanied by a threat.



“Everyone is being told, ‘We’ll get you next time.'”



Final arguments in the obscenity charges filed against the gay Yonge St strip club Remington’s, were heard earlier this month. And the fact that both clubs are located on the outskirts of the gay ghetto isn’t lost on Anderson.



“If they had hit something closer to Church-Wellesley, a crowd

might gather quickly,” he says. (The Bijou is located in an alley off Church St, near Gerrard.)



“I think we were an easy target.”



Art Whitaker – the 52-year-old porno bar cashier whose obstruction charges were also withdrawn – also worries that there’s more to come.



“There’s personal relief,” Whitaker says. “But not really relief

from a community point of view. I still think there’s a long fight to go. There’s a lot of archaic rules on the books, and they’re going to keep

charging people.



“I think they’re wasting a lot of fucking tax-payers’ money.”



Longtime activist George Hislop told reporters at an impromptu press conference that it’s time for the community to dig in.



“[Police] can go ahead and do it again,” Hislop said. “They probably

will and we’ll continue to fight. The next step in the battle is to get the legislation amended.”



That leaves the fate of the city’s sex venues in the hands of the June 13 Committee. Contact it at june13commitee@hotmail.com.