Hate Crime Gets Tough Sentence
A Vancouver man has been given a harsh, year-long prison sentence for assaulting a gay man back in September, 2008.
Jordan Smith was holding hands with his boyfriend as they walked along the street in Vancouver’s gay district when he was attacked by Michael Kandola. The attack knocked Smith out cold and broke his jaw, requiring surgery to have it wired shut.
Smith had never held hands with his boyfriend in public before and hasn’t done so since.
Kandola’s lawyers argued that the assault, caught on film by a security camera, should not be considered a hate crime—a notion that the judge rightfully dismissed. The attacker shouted anti-gay slurs before and after the assault, even as the victim was laying unconscious on the ground.
This is one of the first gay bashings to be ultimately ruled a hate crime under sections 318 and 319 of Canada’s criminal code—a very welcome change from the norm.
You see, occasionally, I hear some nonsense about how “all crimes are hate crimes,” and that tougher sentences shouldn’t be given in instances like Smith’s attack. I could not disagree as completely as I do with this sentiment. Hate crimes are different from regular crimes in that they target an entire community, not just a single victim. They send the message that all gay people had better watch their backs. This ruling sends the message that anyone who would terrorize the gay community with violence should watch theirs.
- B.C. judge declares attack on gay man a hate crime [CTV News]
- Attacked for holding hands [Surrey Leader]