THUNDER BAY – The investigation into this disturbing incident has resulted in an 18 year old male being charged. Information received by police lead them to determine that four individuals, aged 18 & 19 years old, were present in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The three males and one female have all been interviewed by police and the trailer hitch has been seized as evidence.
The original media releases have titled this incident as an assault with a weapon but based on a review all of the evidence and medical information obtained; the charge of Aggravated Assault has been laid. 18 year old Brayden Bushby appeared in court Sunday morning and was remanded for another court appearance today.
The Thunder Bay Police Service acknowledges the impact this incident has on the community. The police are consulting with the Crown in order to evaluate if evidence gathered to date indicates if this assault can be designated as a hate motivated incident.
The Criminal Code of Canada has two sections that need to be examined when discussing Hate Crimes. Section 318 of the Criminal Code deals with Hate Propaganda and Advocating Genocide and Section 319 has to do with Public Incitement of Hatred or Willful Promotion of Hatred. In order to lay any of these charges, the consent of the Attorney General is required. This incident does not fit into the realm of these sections.
Section 718.2 (a) (i) of the Criminal Code can be considered once a person has been found guilty of a Criminal Code Offence and the case moves to the sentencing phase of the judicial process. The code states that a court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender and evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor. This part of investigation is ongoing.
The Thunder Bay Police are aware of the reporting by members of the aboriginal community that they have been victim to objects being thrown at them by person(s) in passing vehicles. The police are also very aware that many incidents go unreported.
Police are encouraging anyone who is a victim of this type of incident to contact the police as soon as possible so a timely police response may be initiated. Providing a good description of the suspect(s) and the vehicles, make, colour and distinguishing marks or features is crucial. This recently reported incident is a good example of members of the community stepping up and doing the right thing to provide information and help an investigation move forward.