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Canadian man accused of throwing gravel at Justin Trudeau pleads guilty

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) - A man accused of throwing gravel at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2021 election campaign pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a charge of common assault, prosecutors and his lawyer said.

Trudeau was hit by a handful of gravel in 2021 while on the campaign trail as he made his way past a crowd shouting their opposition to COVID-19-related mandates and restrictions. The prime minister was not injured and his Liberal Party went on to win the election.

A sentencing hearing for Shane Marshall, who is aged in the mid-20s and is from the province of Ontario, will be held on May 1. Marshall's lawyer, Luke Reidy, said the plea likely meant his client will avoid jail time in the sentencing.

A CTV camera had captured what looked to be white gravel hitting Trudeau and one of his bodyguards as he walked toward his campaign bus in London, Ontario, in 2021.

Marshall, who was a member of the right-wing People's Party of Canada, was charged by police with assault with a weapon. The party expelled Marshall after the incident.

"I'll be communicating with the Crown's office on sentencing and there will probably be a joint submission on sentencing, and that was largely the incentive for the plea this morning," Reidy said.

Marshall admitted he picked up a handful of gravel and threw it in the direction of Trudeau and a crowd of security personnel and supporters as the Liberal Party leader stepped aboard a campaign bus, CBC News reported, citing an agreed statement of facts read in court.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington, editing by Deepa Babington)