B.C. public miffed at pace of the Vancouver riot investigation in comparison to British response

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

It's no secret that the slow pace of justice following the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots was, and still is, a point of contention for many British Columbians.

To date, despite grandiose statements by Premier Christy Clark, only 28 individuals have been charged; none have been convicted.

By comparison, police in the UK had charged 1,000 suspects within a week of their riots which began August 6.

The BC attorney general's office and the police chief are quick to point out that Britain has different rules with regards to laying charges.

B.C., unlike the U.K., Ontario and most other provinces in Canada, relies on crown counsel in the criminal justice branch to approve charges against an individual rather than officers laying charges themselves.

But many haven't accepted that explanation and believe the B.C. government should have done more.

According to the Globe and Mail, the provincial Public Safety Ministry has released a Freedom of Information request that details possible relevance between the August riots in Britain and June's Stanley Cup riot.

The 51-page document is mostly composed of letters from the public that disapprove of B.C. government's response to the riots.

Here are some excerpts from the letters, as published in the Globe and Mail:

- "It has been about 2 months since the hockey riot in Vancouver. It has been about 2 DAYS since the UK riots. In the UK they have already arrested people, put them before the courts and sentenced some. What is the justice system here in BC doing besides naval gazing?"

- "After seeing how London deals with their rioters it is extremely frustrating to see how we deal with our rioters. Are charges ever going to be laid against these people, and if so when? I truly hope that we will just not just forget this act."

- "Vancouver City and Police have completely put the blame on rioters, while taking no accountability for their poor planning, lack of officers on the roads, and delay in response to the riots and the aftermath. WE NEED ACTION!"

- "I am writing to express my displeasure regarding the slow progress of the courts in prosecuting the individuals responsible for the Vancouver Riots. Recent news stories about the trouble in London, England have brought to light the fact that there have been no charges laid and no court appearances in the matter of the [Vancouver] riots. Despite having a multitude of evidence and even some individuals that have turned themselves into police there are still no charges."