[Hpn] HOMELESS BEATING DEATH SHOULD BE PROSECUTED AS HATE CRIMES

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Mon, 5 Sep 2005 22:34:41 -0400


From: Cathy Crowe cathy.crowe@sympatico.ca

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee



For immediate release

September 4, 2005



TDRC calls on Attorney General to prosecute homeless beating death as hate
crime



The beating death of Paul Richard Croutch, a homeless man, in a downtown
Toronto park last week should be prosecuted as a hate crime, says the
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee. TDRC has written to Ontario Attorney
General Michael Bryant urging him to prosecute the Croutch murder as a hate
crime.



?All the reports confirm that Mr. Croutch was targeted because of his status
as a homeless person,? says Michael Shapcott, Research Co-ordinator of the
TDRC. ?Both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario government?s Crown
Policy Manual call for harsh treatment for those found guilty of
hate-motivated crimes. The savage murder of Mr. Croutch is of critical
importance to the thousands of homeless people in Toronto. The wider
community is also offended by the gruesome details.?



Three members of the Canadian Forces reserves have been charged by Toronto
police with second-degree murder and assault in the death of Paul Richard
Croutch early in the morning of Wednesday, August 31, 2005. A woman who
witnessed the assault on Mr. Croutch was also attacked. The three men who
have been charged are Brian Deganis, Jeffrey Hall and Mountaz Ibrahim.
According to published reports, the three men had received military combat
training and they had been at a ?social function? at the Moss Park Armoury
on the evening of the assault.



The Crown Policy Manual of the Attorney General of Ontario states: ?
Describing a criminal offence as a hate crime does not require that the
offence be motivated entirely by hate or bias against a victim because of
his/her membership in a group. Even a crime partially motivated by hate or
bias may be construed as a hate crime and treated as such. Although the
Criminal Code has specific provisions relating to hate crime, offences need
not be specifically designated as such, in order to qualify as hate crimes.
. . Hate crimes, regardless of the form they take, are by their nature, very
serious offences. There is a very strong public interest in the successful
prosecution of hate crime.?



TDRC is asking that the Crown counsel designated as the ?hate crimes
co-ordinator? for Toronto handle the prosecution of the Croutch murder.



For information:

Michael Shapcott, cell  416-605-8316



* * *



Toronto Disaster Relief Committee

6 Trinity Square, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5G 1B1

Tel. ? 416-599-8372 // Fax ? 416-599-5445
E-mail ? michael.shapcott@utoronto.ca


* * *



September 4, 2005



FAX TO: 416-326-4016



Hon. Michael Bryant,

Attorney-General, Province of Ontario



Dear Mr. Bryant:



RE: Hate crime in the murder of Paul Richard Croutch in Toronto



Three members of the Canadian Forces reserves have been charged by Toronto
police with second-degree murder and assault following the beating death of
Paul Richard Croutch, a homeless man, in a downtown Toronto park early in
the morning of Wednesday, August 31, 2005. A woman who witnessed the assault
on Mr. Croutch was also attacked. The three men who have been charged are
Brian Deganis, Jeffrey Hall and Mountaz Ibrahim. According to published
reports, the three men had received military combat training and they had
been at a ?social function? at the Moss Park Armoury on the evening of the
assault.



The reports of this incident that are publicly available point to all the
hallmarks of a hate-motivated crime; that is, Mr. Croutch was targeted
specifically because of his status as a homeless person. The Criminal Code
of Canada and the Ontario Crown Policy Manual both require that the Crown
pay special attention to hate-motivated crimes during prosecution and also
at sentencing.



The Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, an advocacy group for the homeless
and under-housed, is seeking your commitment that this prosecution will
proceed as a hate crime. We look forward to your reply at your earliest
convenience as this is a matter of critical importance not simply to the
thousands of homeless people in Toronto, but also to the broader community.



Sincerely,



Michael Shapcott, on behalf of the Steering Committee,

Toronto Disaster Relief Committee



cc.

Paul Culver, Crown Attorney's Office, Toronto ? 416-327-6056





* * *



Toronto Star

Sep. 4, 2005. 08:17 AM



3 reservists face murder charges

Homeless man beaten to death in Moss Park

HILDA HOY



Three members of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves are facing second-degree
murder and assault charges after a homeless man was beaten to death in a
downtown park and a woman coming to his aid was attacked.



Paul Richard Croutch, 59, died at St. Michael's Hospital on Wednesday as his
case manager stood nearby. An autopsy performed Friday found the cause of
death was trauma to the head, and the injuries were consistent with being
punched, kicked or stomped.



Police were called to an assault in Moss Park, near Sherbourne and Shuter
Sts., shortly before 5 a.m. on Wednesday. An unconscious Croutch was rushed
to hospital but died later that morning.



A woman who witnessed the beating and intervened was treated for soft-tissue
damage and bruising, police said.



Croutch had been a resident of the Salvation Army's Gateway Shelter, around
the corner from the park on Jarvis St., since 2002. Gateway will host a
funeral next week.

He has family on the West Coast who have been notified.



"He was very mild-mannered and soft-spoken," said Gateway director Dion
Oxford. "He was harmless."



Last time he saw Croutch, he was watching the Gateway softball team play in
the park.

"He kept to himself most of the time," remembered Gateway chaplain Ron Farr.



Brian Deganis, 21, Jeffery Hall, 21, and Mountaz Ibrahim, 23, all of
Toronto, were arrested and charged Friday after a joint investigation by
Toronto police and the army's National Investigation Services.



The three men are part-time members of the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, a
reserve infantry unit that trains at the Moss Park Armoury adjacent to the
park where Croutch was found.



Each has received at least two years of combat training, although the exact
length of their service could not be confirmed. They had attended a "social
function" at the armoury that evening but were not in uniform, investigation
services spokesman Capt. Mark Giles said.



"Uniform or no uniform, these are very serious charges and we take it very
seriously," said Giles.



Because the incident took place in the park and not on armoury property, the
investigation falls under city police jurisdiction. The National
Investigation Services provided support and will continue to do so as
needed, Giles said.