Ontario man jailed for attack on Asian anglers (CBC News):
[A white] Ontario man has been sentenced to two years less a day in jail Friday for attacking a group of Asian anglers and their friends in 2007.
Justice Alfred Stong also sentenced Trevor Middleton, 23, to three years’ probation after he has served his sentence, and 240 hours of community service helping seniors and people with mental disabilities. Middleton will also be required to attend a cultural awareness course, and he’s been banned from driving for 10 years.
According to Justice Stong, since some of the victims were Asian Canadians, what made them stand out visually in the overwhelmingly white town must have been their “culture”, which was made conspicuous by the fact that they were trying to fish from a dock in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, alongside their white friends.
Also according to Justice Stong, learning about “Asian culture” prevents white people from attacking Asians Canadians who are engaging in the act of fishing.
A jury found Middleton guilty in December of four counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The charges relate to an attack on Shayne Berwick and six of his friends — two of Asian descent — in Georgina Township, northeast of Newmarket, about 50 kilometres north of Toronto.
The group was fishing near Mossington Park Bridge off Lake Simcoe early in the morning on Sept. 16, 2007, when Middleton and some of his friends arrived. Middleton’s group pushed two of Berwick’s friends off the dock and into the lake, the court heard.
A scuffle ensued between members of the two groups, and one of Middleton’s friends was badly beaten.
Berwick and his friends then got into a car and fled. But Middleton chased them down a road with his pickup truck, ramming into the car repeatedly until it crashed into a tree, court heard. Berwick was severely injured in the crash and suffered brain damage.
Despite finding that race played a role in the attack, the judge didn’t use hate crime provisions of the criminal code when he handed down his sentence. That prompted members of Berwick’s family to question outside the court whether the law acts as a deterrent.
Berwick’s family is urging the Crown to appeal the sentence, arguing that it isn’t long enough.
Middleton will be incarcerated for less than two years, while Berwick will permanently brain damaged and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. People expressed anger over the light sentence.
(The attack was motivated by racism, because it was part of a pattern. See: Racism behind angler attacks: Report for the background.)