Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Mental health concerns force delay in racially motivated attack

  • Print

He tried to burn the hair of a Jewish student in a racially motivated attack that happened inside their high school. Now lingering concerns about the mental health of a Winnipeg teen have forced a delay in his sentencing hearing.

The 17-year-old -- who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act – appeared in court Thursday expecting to learn his punishment. But provincial court Judge Tim Preston instead ordered a forensic psychiatric report, saying details contained in a different pre-sentence report had raised some red flags to him.

The assessment is expected to take at least two months, meaning the sentencing likely won’t occur until the fall.

The youth recently pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a weapon (a lighter) for the November 2011 incident at Oak Park High School that made headlines across the country.

The boy also uttered anti-Semitic slurs toward the 15-year-old and previously had Nazi and skinhead links, according to sources.

There is a rarely used section of the Criminal Code that pertains to hate crimes, where a person could be charged with public incitement of hatred for "communicating statements in any public place" that lead to inciting "hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace."

Senior Manitoba justice officials had considered laying such a charge but ultimately decided against it.

The girl suffered no serious physical injury after the ends of her hair were singed by the lighter. School officials only became aware of the attack when she told a school counsellor three days later. The accused was immediately suspended and eventually withdrew from the Charleswood-area school.

Following the crime, the accused took to his public Facebook page and posted a photo of himself wearing a shirt with a slogan relating he loves "haters." One of the boy's friends, a young woman, posted her support for him on his Facebook page.

The teen's Facebook page was also filled with other vulgarities, including repeated use of a derogatory term for homosexuals.

"I have been doing policing for upwards of a couple of decades and don't think I've ever seen an incident like this," police Const. Rob Carver told the Free Press at the time.

The accused has been free on bail since his arrest.

A recent B'nai Brith study showed incidents of anti-Semitism increased 3.7 per cent across Canada in 2012, and 30 per cent internationally. In Manitoba, the number of reported cases of anti-Semitism dropped to 56 cases in 2012 compared with 78 cases in 2011.

www.mikeoncrime.com

 

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

Comments are not accepted on this story because it involves young offenders or minors.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Sneak peek: MTS Centre’s renovations for 2014/15 season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Judy Wasylycia-Leis will greatly benefit from the endorsement by Winnipeg's firefighters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google