News
2 min

Gaybashing hearing delayed yet again

This time accused says he couldn't find the courtroom

The sentencing hearing for the youth accused in an alleged Dec 13 gaybashing on Commercial Dr has been delayed yet again — this time to Oct 19.

The youth, who can’t be named by law because he was 17 at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm on May 20.

The sentencing was due to begin on July 6 but was delayed to Sept 29 due to inconsistencies in a pre-sentencing report.

It was delayed again Oct 14 when the court was told the youth now has a new lawyer.

It is unknown if former lawyer Ken Roesch withdrew from the case or if the client fired him.

The hearing began Oct 14 without the youth present and a warrant was issued for his arrest by Justice of the Peace Judy Norton.

The youth turned up more than an hour later with his parents.

He told Norton he could not find the courtroom.

His name was posted on the main docket list and also on the list outside the courtroom — a room in which he has already appeared numerous times.

Norton cancelled the warrant and told the youth, “Now you know where the courtroom is, so I expect you here.”

Crown prosecutor Shannon Smith told Vancouver Youth Court Judge Jodie Werier in July there were “very significant” differences between the accused’s version of events and those of the victim and witnesses.

Before the Oct 14 hearing began, Norton remarked of the youth’s case, “it’s very, very old.”

The man the youth allegedly attacked underwent surgery on Dec 14 for a broken jaw after allegedly being targeted with homophobic slurs and repeatedly punched and kicked.

Billy (who gave Xtra only his first name) said he was leaving a house party with friends when a man standing nearby began to harass them.

“He pushed my girlfriend on the floor. I went to help her up and he kicked me in the face by my eye,” Billy alleged.

“He called me a ‘fucking faggot,’ ‘you fucking gay,’ ‘you piece of shit,’ ‘you’re worthless’ — just kept on calling me ‘fag, fag, fag.'”

It remains to be seen if the case will be pursued as a hate crime at sentencing.

At the time of the incident, the Vancouver Police Department received a complaint of people fighting around 5am on Dec 13 at E 3rd and Commercial Dr.

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

Asked if homophobic remarks were reported to officers, McGuinness said there was “an indication that some statements were made to the victim by the person who assaulted him.” She declined to elaborate.