Protesters want judge fired after 'disgraceful' sentence given to sexual assault perpetrator
Published Saturday, November 10, 2018 6:53PM PST
Last Updated Monday, November 12, 2018 1:59PM PST
A North Vancouver teenage boy sexually assaulted a girl inside a bathroom stall and his punishment is to spend two weeks behind bars before serving the rest of his three-year sentence in the community.
The decision caused a groundswell of anger and outrage and on Saturday, more than 200 people protested to have the provincial court judge stripped of his duties.
"I've been grounded for longer than two weeks for things that don't break the law," said protestor Hannah Dixon. “For somebody that violates somebody’s civil rights and takes away their sense of personal safety and gets two weeks in prison for that, that’s absolutely ridiculous.”
According to the North Shore News, Judge Paul Meyers acknowledged the sentence may not be as long as what the victims would have liked.
The teen, who was 16 at the time of the attack, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement. The attack happened at Encore Dance Club for an all-ages party in February 2016.
The victim was found in the bathroom with such severe injuries that she was taken to hospital in critical condition.
The teen was also convicted of sexually assaulting a different girl just a few months before.
The identities of the perpetrator and victims cannot be revealed because of a publication ban.
“We refuse to have our own Brock Turner. We as a community will not protect rapists; we will not defend them and we will believe survivors,” said Yalda Kazemi, the rally’s organizer.
Kazemi, a Grade 12 student, does not know the victims or attacker but felt compelled to organize the protest.
“As a survivor myself, I always felt too scared to speak up about my sexual assault because of systems like this, where the law actually fails the survivors,” she said.
Judge Meyers found the teen has already faced social ramifications after being shunned from the community and not being able to graduate high school with his peers, which contributed to his sentencing.
“I was disappointed in those remarks when you consider the impact on the survivor and what she has to live with for the rest of her life,” said Jane Thornwhwaite, MLA for North Vancouver-Seymour.
It is unclear if prosecutors plan to appeal the decision, but a local criminal lawyer said they would have to determine whether the sentence was too lenient.
“They would have want to look again at the range of appropriate sentences, they would want to see if this falls so below that range that perhaps an appeal isn’t just describable, but necessary in order to maintain consistency in our judicial system,” explained lawyer Sarah Leamon.
An online petition is demanding that Judge Meyers be fired and has already garnered more than 1,500 signatures.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Ben Miljure