Anti-Olympic rioters who smashed windows in downtown Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Games have mostly walked out of B.C. courts without so much as a slap on the wrist.
Only a handful of the violent protesters were charged 16 months ago and even the accused ringleader has since escaped court-imposed punishment.
Guillaume Joseph-Marc Beaulieu, 27, was charged with mischief over $5,000 for allegedly inciting vandalism and leading black-clad anarchists in a destructive spree through downtown Vancouver Feb. 13.
Protesters used newspaper boxes as battering rams, spray-painted vehicles and clashed with police.
But Crown counsel spokesman Neil McKenzie said the mischief charge against Beaulieu was stayed by prosecutors Jan. 5 after they decided there was little chance of conviction.
“Although he apparently participated in the march, there was not any evidence he was personally involved in any violence or vandalism,” McKenzie said Tuesday.
Nobody else was ever charged with actual vandalism from the incident, McKenzie said, adding most of the vandals who broke windows were masked and unidentifiable.
Other charges mainly stemmed from clashes with police.
Lliam Arthur Brander, 27 of North Vancouver, was charged with assault but McKenzie said that charge was eventually stayed and dealt with through alternative justice measures.
Willow Violet Louise Riley, 18, was also charged with assaulting a police officer.
The trial was to have gone ahead March 3 but was postponed and the case has been repeatedly adjourned since then. Riley is currently scheduled to be back in court this Friday to set a new date for trial.
A couple of others pleaded guilty and received discharges, McKenzie said.
The court outcomes may be far different with the rioters and looters charged in last week’s Stanley Cup hockey riot.
Police have many more images of rioters with their faces unmasked, McKenzie said.
Even so, he cautioned, photos and video may not amount to sufficient evidence by themselves for conviction and will have to be weighed carefully by first police and then Crown.