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Newspaper box vandalism case continues

Case adjourned to Mar 9

A one-month adjournment was granted Feb 9 in the case of a man accused of vandalizing dozens of Capital Xtra newspaper boxes last summer and fall.

This is the fourth adjournment for Ottawa resident Thomas Strain, 47, who faces four counts of mischief under $5,000 and one count of mischief over $5,000. His lawyer, Michael Spratt, told the court both he and the Crown had a pre-trial meeting last week and agreed on the adjournment.

Over a four-month period last summer and fall, dozens of Capital Xtra newspapers boxes had paint spilled on them, their windows painted black, swastikas or “HIV” painted on them or their doors repeatedly screwed shut so they couldn’t be opened. Some were hit repeatedly. Adjacent newspaper boxes remained unharmed.

The case was investigated by Ottawa Police’s Hate Crimes Unit and is expected to be treated by the Crown as a hate crime.

The Ottawa Citizen reported the vandalism in a Sep 8 story. The next day, a Citizen editorial decried the assault on free speech.

“Ottawans can be proud to live in an open and inclusive community that abhors hatred and rejects discrimination based on sexual orientation,” wrote the Citizen. “Capital Xtra has the same right as any newspaper to publish, even if some people object to its content.”

The case is adjourned until Thu, Mar 9, at 8:30am in Courtroom 5 at the Ottawa Court House (161 Elgin). The courts are open to the public.