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Kandola pleads not guilty to aggravated assault

No date set for trial of accused in alleged Sep 27 gaybashing

The man accused of aggravated assault in an alleged Sep 27 Vancouver gaybashing says he’s not guilty of assaulting Jordan Smith and will face a judge alone in BC Supreme Court.

While there is no date set for the trial, Michael Kandola, 20, will have a preliminary hearing in Vancouver Provincial Court Jun 10-11, the court ordered after the plea Oct 27.

Kandola has already had his charges upgraded from assault to aggravated assault as a result of multiple jaw fractures suffered by Smith, 27.

Last week, however, Smith also filed a civil suit against Kandola.

In addition to general damages, a statement of claim filed at the BC Supreme Court in New Westminster seeks “exemplary and punitive damages for outrageous, hateful and discriminatory behaviour towards an unarmed and unaware victim.”
 
The suit alleges that: “Without warning, without provocation and without cause of any kind, the defendant, Michael Singh Kandola, delivered a powerful blow to the left cheek of the plaintiff, Jordan Madison Smith, causing immediate unconsciousness, multiple fractures of the left (jaw)….” It describes the blow as a “sucker punch.”
 
Smith was walking along Davie St hand-in-hand with another man when a group of four young men allegedly approached them, according to police.
 
The suit, filed Oct 9 by Smith’s father Howard Smith, a lawyer, says the South Asian men “jeered, voiced epithets and expletives about homosexuals.”
 
The statement of claim describes the attack as “cowardly.” It says Smith struck his skull on the ground as he fell.
 
Further, the statement alleges, Kandola then “with a clenched fist and angry face, bent over the then unconscious plaintiff … and shouted further expletives respecting the sexual orientation of the plaintiff.”
 
Police say Smith fell to the ground at the corner of Davie and Hornby Sts in Vancouver’s West End.
 
The suit alleges Smith suffered jaw fractures, bruising and swelling to his head, a soft-tissue neck injury and injury to his foot and ankle.
 
Smith was immediately taken to St Paul’s Hospital where he was X-rayed and CT-scanned.
 
On Sep 29, his jaw was surgically wired shut for a period of up to six weeks. During that time, he remains on a strict liquid diet.
 
The suit seeks damages for pain and suffering. The elder Smith has said the damages could top $100,000.
 
None of the allegations in Smith’s civil suit have been proven in court. Kandola has not filed a statement of defence.
 
In the criminal case, Kandola’s case has appeared in Vancouver Provincial Court four times. He has been in court twice.

Police maintain say they want the incident prosecuted as a hate crime because of the obscenities allegedly uttered before the attack.
 
In such case, the Crown presents the evidence that an attack is motivated by hatred. The judge can then decide whether or not to increase a sentence if he or she finds hate was a motivating factor based on evidence led by Crown in the trial.
 
In the criminal action, Kandola’s lawyer has told media that a videotape taken from a 7-Eleven store at the scene does not corroborate what the several witnesses said about the incident.
 
Danny Markovitz says two people from that tape a woman and a man who was sitting on a fire hydrant — have yet to be found.

Markovitz says his client has been overwhelmed by the attention the case is receiving.

He says Kandola was told not to appear Oct 27 so he could “avoid being on camera again.”

Markovitz is not handling the civil suit. He says he’s looking for another lawyer to handle that for Kandola.