Published Thursday, August 31, 2017 12:29PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 31, 2017 12:45PM EDT
An Ottawa teenager who went on a racist graffiti-spree last November will spend three more months in custody.
On Thursday Ontario Court Justice Peter Griffiths handed down a sentence of one year in prison with consideration for time served, and two years’ probation. The young offender, who cannot be named because of his age, has already spent about nine months in prison. He will spend the next two months in jail before being transferred into the community for his final month in custody.
“White supremacy and racism, they are both unbelievably uniformed decisions to make,” the judge said in his decision.
“I find that the hate crimes committed here require a stern custodial sentence. Nothing less would send out the message to the degree of harm it has caused.”
Two synagogues, a mosque, a Jewish prayer house and a church were all targeted over a period of 6 days last November with hateful, racist slurs aimed at specific minorities in what some have called “a week of terror in Ottawa.” The crime spree stopped when a young man, just shy of his 18 birthday was arrested, armed with a hammer, a BB gun and a knife.
‘We are hopeful that the judge’s perception that he has made progress accurate; we are hopeful that he continues to make this progress because the truth is, our community is safest if this young man continues to alter his world views,” said Andrea Freedman, the CEO and President of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa.
The offender pleaded guilty in February to five charges including threatening conduct, inciting hatred, mischief against religious buildings, possessing a weapon and breaching conditions imposed after a previous conviction.
Rev. Anthony Bailey of the Parkdale United Church, one of the faith-based institutions the boy targeted, said the sanctions were necessary but said he hopes the young man can reintegrate into society.
“What he did was egregious so there needs to be some custodial and supervision and probation elements to it but that cannot be all of it at the end of the day,” Bailey said after the sentence came down. “We are looking at collaborative and restorative ways we can help him grow into a meaningful and contributing citizen of the society.”
The young offender is not allowed to visit any mosque or synagogue without explicit written permission from the Rabbi or Imam in charge. He is also not allowed to communicate with any of the individuals he targeted, although the judge did order him to write and send three essays about notable Jewish, Muslim and Black Canadians to those he hurt.
As part of his probation, the young man’s internet access has been restricted and he is required to undergo weekly counselling sessions. A DNA order has been issued for future investigative purposes.
In his decision, the judge said the offender has taken steps to improve his life, including the completion of his high school diploma and counselling session, and that further time in jail would risk his progress and his successful reintegration into society.