2 min

‘This matter is 605 days old’: justice of the peace

Accused gaybasher told to find a lawyer

More delays in the trial of the youth charged in an alleged 2009 gaybashing off Commercial Dr prompted a justice of the peace to warn the youth on Sept 1 to be “vigilant” about getting a new lawyer and dealing with his charge.

However, Justice of the Peace Judy Norton heard, the Crown will not seek jail time on the offence due to the amount of time the youth has already spent in custody. He is currently out on bail and appeared in court with his father. He told the court he had tried to get a legal aid lawyer.

The youth is charged with assault causing bodily harm in a case in which anti-gay slurs were allegedly uttered. He was 17 at the time of the alleged incident. He is now 19.

“This matter is 605 days old,” Norton told the youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. “This matter should have been cleared up well over a year ago,” Norton said, adding the youth will appear before provincial court judges from now on.

“You’re wearing us out,” Norton said.

Crown counsel Karen Wikford suggested the youth attend court every day until he finds a lawyer.

The trial had been set for three days starting Aug 22 but was put off to Sept 1 after the youth fired his second lawyer.

It had earlier been set for March 29 but had to be rescheduled because the youth’s then-lawyer double-booked the date.

It had initially been scheduled for July 2010 but was delayed then due to inconsistencies between the youth’s account of the alleged incident and witness accounts. The youth then changed his plea to not guilty and fired his first lawyer, triggering the first round of delays.

The youth is now set to appear before a judge on Sept 8.

Twice, warrants have been prepared for the youth’s arrest when he has been late to court or he and his lawyer have not attended court. He was late again for court on Sept 1. He eventually arrived, narrowly avoiding an arrest warrant.

Wikford cited the litany of delays in the case.

“This matter should have been cleared up right at the start,” Norton agreed.

The man the youth allegedly attacked needed surgery to fix his jaw.

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.'”?