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Saturday, August 28, 2010 Toronto Edition
Inside thestar.com

G20 charges in 73 cases cleared

2010/08/25 00:17:00
Betsy Powell Courts Bureau

And then there were 231.

Twenty-four hours after the fact, Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed the final head count after Monday’s mass court appearance by those charged in connection to the G20 summit protests.

In total, 304 people were on the docket at the Ontario Court of Justice facing charges ranging from mischief to obstructing a peace officer and possession of weapons.

By the time the dust had settled, 73 cases were either settled or dismissed.

Nine of the 73 were people listed in error. “For example, a person being named twice,” ministry spokesman Brenda Crawley wrote in an email.

Of the remaining 64, 22 people had their charges withdrawn through “diversion,” meaning they either made a small charitable donation or agreed to perform community service. Five people had their charges withdrawn after they agreed to sign peace bonds. Thirty-one people had their charges withdrawn or stayed — which means the Crown has a year in which it could opt to revive the charges. There were also six guilty pleas.

In all, 58 had their charges withdrawn or stayed.

The ministry did not respond to a request to provide a further breakdown of the charges.

Two hundred and twenty-seven people had their matters adjourned to dates from the end of August to mid-October. They include several people who are choosing to fight their charges after rejecting overtures by the prosecution.

In addition, four accused did not appear in court Monday and bench warrants were issued.

Toronto police and officers from other forces arrested more than 1,000 people connected to the G20 protests in late June. Many were detained in a makeshift detention centre but released without charges.

Critics say law enforcement, after letting vandals run amok, smashing windows and burning police cars, then became heavy-handed by needlessly charging non-violent protesters.

Three hundred people ultimately were charged with criminal offences, including 17 people the Crown alleges were ringleaders responsible for organizing the mayhem unleashed in downtown Toronto during the summit.

Last week in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Crown appealed the release of purported organizers Leah Henderson and Alex Hundert, alleged to have had roles in organizing the protests that caused thousands of dollars in property damage.

He reserved his decision until next month. Next week, Erik Lankin, who has been jailed since his arrest June 26, will seek to get out of custody. He was denied bail in July.

The trials for the remaining accused could be up to two years away.

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