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Friday, November 29, 2019

Sentencing Adjourned in Owen Sound Mosque Vandalism Case

Owen Sound | by Matt Hermiz  

Crown seeks 45 days in jail for offender, while defence asks for suspended sentence.

A 22-year-old Owen Sound man who pleaded guilty to mischief and admitted to vandalizing the Owen Sound Muslim Association due to bias based on religion will learn next month if he will face jail time.

Brandon Hodder made an appearance in an Ontario Court of Justice courtroom in Owen Sound Thursday afternoon and Justice Julia Morneau adjourned his sentencing hearing to Dec. 18.

When he pleaded guilty plea last month, Hodder admitted to throwing tomato sauce and eggs at the Owen Sound Muslim Association mosque on 7th Street East July 12 and 13. He also threw food at the window of a restaurant, Popeyes Chicken, on 16th Street East.

The crown is seeking a 45 day custodial sentence, two years probation and restrictions preventing Hodder from being within a certain proximity of both the mosque and Popeyes.

Assistant Crown attorney Glenn Brotherson acknowledged alcohol played a significant role in what occurred and that Hodder did express remorse soon after.

However, Brotherson said the principle of denunciation calls for a period of incarceration.

“It's a message that must be made clear to any individual who would act in this fashion with regards to any religious or racial group that it cannot be tolerated in our community,” Brotherson said.

The defence asked for a suspended sentence, 18 months probation and 200 hours of community service.

Defence lawyer Michael Martin said Hodder's act was not motivated by prejudice or hate, but a “short-lived” bias developed in an “alcoholic haze” and influenced unduly by social media.

The court heard from the defence Hodder has taken steps to maintain his sobriety since the incidents.

The defence lawyer said Hodder showed immediate remorse following his actions and quickly told police he wanted to apologize to the victims.

Martin said Hodder even penned a public letter of apology he brought to the Owen Sound Sun-Times, but the paper chose against publishing it.

The defence lawyer read the letter into record during the sentencing hearing Thursday.

In it, Hodder apologized and said he never intended for his actions to create fear and sadness in the community and assured he is not threat.

“I hope one day some of you can forgive me,” Martin read from Hodder's letter. “But I will understand if you can't.”

The defence told the court Hodder wants to make amends and is embarrassed by what he did. Martin said Hodder wants to do community service for the mosque and give face-to-face apologies to those he victimized.

“He wants to work with the community he has damaged,” Martin said.

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