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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Jewish community mulls meeting with neo-nazi tagger (Canada)

Members of Calgary’s Jewish community will meet to decide whether they want a face-to-face conference with the neo-nazi who went on a racist vandalism spree.

The teen’s sentencing hearing was adjourned Friday so community leaders could discuss the possibility of such a gathering.

Adam Singer, president of the Calgary Jewish Community Council, said there are potential pros and cons to such a process.

“We need to give this serious consideration,” Singer said, after meeting with Crown prosecutors Jenny Rees and Karuna Ramakrishnan on the idea of holding a community conference with the teen.

“There could be an upside and there could be a downside.”

Youth court Judge Todd LaRochelle suggested such a get-together could be helpful for the offender, who went on an anti-Semitic spray-painting spree last Nov. 14.

“It might be beneficial for (him) to someday walk in someone else’s shoes,” LaRochelle said, before adjourning the case to Dec. 9.

Defence counsel Jim Lutz said his client was open to the idea of a community conference, a procedure under the Youth Criminal Justice Act which joins offenders with victims.

The teen earlier pleaded guilty to charges of mischief to property and promoting hatred against an identifiable group.

He had his now ex-girlfriend drive him around the city’s southwest where he targeted Jewish facilities, including the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish Synagogue and areas around the Jewish Community Centre.

He drew swastikas and wrote racist comments including “kill Jews,” and profane words on communal mailboxes, a nearby fence and a second place of worship, the House of Jacob Synagogue.

The teen, a known Aryan Nations associate, a well-known, neo-nazi group, can’t be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

He remains at liberty pending sentencing.

Calgary Sun