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Approximately 25 anti-racists attended the Friday, January 27, court appearance of Shawn MacDonald (39), a member of the neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour charged with three assaults against people of colour in the Vancouver area.
MacDonald didn't attend his court appearance in the morning and was represented by Doug Christie, a Victoria-based lawyer well known for his defense of right-wing extremists since the 1980s (including Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel). Christie was confronted at around 10AM as he left the courthouse by about a dozen anti-racists.
Shawn MacDonald was required to attend court at 1:30PM, and by then the number of protesters had doubled, with half wearing masks to conceal their identities and carrying a banner that read "Nazi Scum Fuck Off!."
MacDonald at first passed by the anti-racists assembled outside the court without comment, no one recognizing him until he had entered the building. However, as he left court 30 minutes later, he was subjected to cries of "Nazi scum" and followed across the street, where he ran through the back door of the No. 5 Orange strip club. Inside, he joined 2-3 other associates at a table.
About 5 minutes later, as protesters began entering the bar, MacDonald and his comrades fled out the back door into a vehicle and made their escape.
When asked why they had their faces covered, the militants responded that neo-Nazis were known to identify and follow anti-racists to their homes, citing the April 2010 bombing of a member of Anti-Racist Action in Abbotsford.
MacDonald was arrested and charged in December 2011, along with Robertson De Chazal (25) and Alastair Miller (20). De Chazal and Miller are charged with aggravated assault for setting a Filipino man on fire on Oct. 10 2009 as he slept on a discarded couch near Commercial Drive. Miller is also charged in a 2008 assault carried out by MacDonald.
All three are reportedly members of Blood and Honour, a small neo-Nazi group established in Britain during the 1980s as an organization to promote racist and fascist music. Their membership in Blood and Honour is being used by police to label their assaults as hate crimes.
Their arrests were announced by the RCMP and BC Hate Crime's Team (established in 1996) with great fanfare, claiming they had put a dent in "organized hate in BC." Despite this, it took nearly four years for charges to be laid in the 2008 incident, in which Shawn MacDonald was filmed by a passing CBC camera man as he assaulted Papi Ngoqo, a South African man. Similarly, the 2009 attack on the Filipino man had several witnesses step forward early in the investigation, yet it would take three years for charges to be laid.
De Chazal and Miller are scheduled to be in court on Monday, February 13, at 9AM at the provincial courts located at 222 Main Street. Another protest has been called for this court appearance as well.
Shawn MacDonald's trial has been set for February 20 and 21.
Section 718.2 (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada says during sentencing judges must consider if a crime was motivated by hate based on the victim's race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.