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Judicial system fails in hate crime

Apr 28, 2010

from the article by Ian Gillespie in the London Free Press:

....How do you respond when you're targeted simply because you're you?

That's a hate crime -- when someone is victimized because of their race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or physical and mental abilities.

And while any crime is awful and traumatic for its victims, hate crimes are particularly repugnant because they're attacks against the essence of a person.

That's why last week's court decision involving an attack upon a gay man is so lamentable.

After Michael Gordon pleaded guilty to assaulting Erik Rozenski about six months ago near Richmond Row, Ontario Court Justice John Getliffe handed Gordon a suspended sentence with two years probation.

The court heard how after a night of drinking, Gordon and an unidentified man encountered Rozenski walking with his boyfriend, called them "faggots" and then punched and kicked Rozenski.
Meredith Fraser is one of the people who thinks that court decision was wrong.

....Fraser and her HBT colleagues are disappointed the court decision didn't highlight the assault as a hate crime -- even though one of the conditions attached to the sentence was that Gordon not associate with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations.

Fraser also regrets the sentence didn't include some form of restorative justice.

"This was a chance for the judge to call for Mr. Gordon to do some service work with LGBT members," she says. "It was a chance to put a human face on this community."

Read the whole article.

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Kathryn McCary
Kathryn McCary says:
Apr 28, 2010 07:03 PM

At the risk of offending many--I have to disagree with the conclusion that a crime is somehow made worse by its motivation. I do not believe the person whose home is broken into and the person who is mugged (the examples used in the original article) are less injured and necessarily more able to respond following the crime than is someone randomly attacked because s/he is (or is perceived by the attacker to be) of a particular race, ethnicity, sexual orientation. And I think the comparison is in fact dishonest: the better comparison would be with the victim beaten up in the course of the robbery/mugging. I'm not sure they would see their injuries and loss as any different from those of the person beaten because s/he is perceived as somehow different from his/er attacker. <br /> <br />Trauma and pain are personal, and dependent on many factors. So is healing. I absolutely agree that some form of restorative action would have been better in the case described, but unless most perpetrators of beatings in that jurisdiction get significantly more punitive sentences, I don't think you can argue that the sentencing in this case will send a wrong message about the crime.

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