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Gay MLA’s alleged attacker to represent himself in court

Michael Melvin Williams charged with assault and mischief

Michael Melvin Williams, 53, is charged with assault and mischief under $5,000 in connection with an alleged attack in MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s office. Credit: Jeremy Hainsworth

The man accused of assault in connection with an alleged attack involving homophobic slurs at Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert’s office told a justice of the peace April 25 he will represent himself at trial.

Michael Melvin Williams, 53, of Vancouver is charged with assault and mischief under $5,000. He previously told Xtra this is his first time dealing with the courts.

Justice of the Peace Rachel Fujinami asked Williams how much time he needed to get his case together. “What could be normal?” Williams asked.

Chandra Herbert alleges a man entered his Denman Street office Feb 21, expressed hatred for the rainbow flag flying in the window and at the Vancouver Public Library Branch across the street, punched the office door, then punched Chandra Herbert’s assistant in the face while uttering homophobic statements.

“He was screaming about ‘faggot flags,’” Chandra Herbert told Xtra at the time. “We called the police and he was arrested.” 

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) spokesperson Sergeant Randy Fincham said at the time that a 53-year-old intoxicated man was arrested. Fincham said they found a man standing near the office, arrested him without incident and took him to jail.

Fincham said the incident was being investigated by the VPD’s hate-crimes unit because of the nature of the allegations.

Williams has disputed Chandra Herbert’s version of events. “It was not in my mind to express hatred or demand he do anything,” Williams said in a letter to Xtra.

Williams will return to court May 16 at 1:30pm to fix a date for trial.