Re: Toronto Police Hate Crime Unit 2009 Report.

In my comment “Who gives a Shiksa” published on May 18th, referring to the 2009 Report of the Toronto Police Hate Crime Unit, I said: “ Obviously, crime is the raison d’etre of the hate-crime unit; indeed, that is the name it has been given. Why, therefore, is no figure provided for the number of convictions actually obtained in 2009?”

Upon belatedly examining the 2009 Report, I see that information was, indeed, supplied.  Here are relevant extracts from the report:

Under the heading “2009 Arrests and Charges” we find:

“The number of arrests and charges in 2009 remained relatively the same as the previous year. In 2009, there were 23 persons arrested for hate/bias motivated offences, 18 adults and 5 young offenders. A total of 50 hate/bias motivated criminal charges were laid. These arrests and charges are in relation to 18 occurrences from 2009 (See Fig.11-Pg.13). In three of these occurrences more than one offender was arrested and charged. Also, many offenders were charged with more than one offence.

“Presently, there is one case from 2009 involving the charge of Advocate Genocide which is before the Attorney General awaiting consent to proceed.

“At year-end 2009 there are 12 cases involving 40 hate/bias motivated charges remaining before the courts arising from occurrences which transpired in 2009. There are still three cases involving five hate/bias motivated criminal charges remaining before the courts arising from occurrences of previous years.

“Sentencing

“The following sentencing findings are inclusive of all hate/bias criminal cases which concluded in the judicial system in the year 2009.

“These sentencing dispositions pertain to occurrences which transpired in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2009 there were 6 cases which resulted in conviction, 2 cases were withdrawn at the request of the Crown Attorney and six cases were withdrawn with diversion or a peace bond. Out of 6 convictions, three offenders chose to plead guilty. In one case the charges were dismissed at the request of the Crown Attorney, and in one case the charges were stayed for mental health diversion. Meanwhile, there are still 15 cases pending before the courts which involve hate/bias criminal charges.”

Mea culpa.

Nonetheless. it would appear that, for all the fanfare involved, a mere six convictions were obtained last year, with only three cases having to be proved in court.  This represents perhaps a 4% average for the number of “occurrences”.

The 50 “hate/bias motivated criminal charges” referred to above are later broken down in the Report as follows:

Common nuisance – 1

Criminal Harassment – 1

Threatening Damage – 1

Mischief – 6

Indecent Exhibition – 1

Threatening Death/Bodily Harm – 10

Assault – 21

Assault Causing Bodily Harm – 3

Assault with a Weapon – 6

One may wonder why it is necessary to incur the added expense and diversion of police resources which resulted from the creation of the Toronto Police Hate Crime Unit in 1993.  Surely the Judiciary can be instructed by their political bosses to consider taking hate/bias motivation into account when handing down sentences?  And, as I understand it, judges must be meticulous in taking all relevant circumstances into account when sentencing, anyway.

So, why do we have an entire police bureaucracy guilding the lily for offences already covered by the criminal code?  And, more to the point, why are the police treating some people more equally than others, and taking an advocacy role by demanding increased sentences from the courts?

Beyond that, I will take the need to make this correction as a warning that thorough research is necessary when commenting on important and controversial issues of the day.

Lesson learned!

Jeff Goodall

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