No criminal charges for women who defaced ‘Recall Gondek’ sign: CPS

The individuals were not criminally charged and were instead diverted to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service’s adult alternative measures program.

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Two Calgary women who defaced a highway sign promoting the petition to recall Mayor Jyoti Gondek will not face criminal charges and will instead have to participate in a diversion program aimed at adults who break the law for the first time.

The two women partially altered a “Recall Gondek” sign along Parkdale Boulevard NW to read “Respect Gondek” on March 19. They also painted over a reference to the takedown petition website at the bottom of the sign.

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A bystander captured the incident on video and posted it on social media, prompting an outpouring of responses, including many comments calling for charges to be filed against the women.

“They are both absolutely despicable,” said the man who filmed the women while they painted the sign. “You should go to jail for this.”

The incident was reported as a property damage complaint to the Calgary Police Service, whose investigation concluded the women would not face any charges.

“Following our investigation, the suspects involved in the property damage incident reported to police,” CPS told Postmedia on Thursday.

As a result, CPS stated that the individuals were not criminally charged and were instead referred to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service. alternative measures program for adults.

According to Oullette, Hoare and Claxton Calgary Criminal Lawyers, the adult diversion program is intended for Albertans charged with minor crimes who have no criminal record or little experience with the justice system.

Those who complete the program, which may include some form of community service, donation or participation in a restorative justice program, have their charges dropped and their criminal records expunged.

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“I definitely believe in consequences”

Karen Motyka, one of the two women who painted over the sign, said she accepts the outcome of the CPS investigation.

“I definitely believe in consequences,” he said.

“I think the due diligence on the part of the police was correct and I just hope that as a result of all this, people start having conversations with each other to try to find the right path forward in society.”

Motyka said she and Carolyn Pogue decided to paint the sign to protest the “insanity” of the recall petition and show support for Gondek.

She added that she regrets defacing the sign, because of the vitriol she and Pogue received afterward.

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“I never expected to be bullied and treated as if I had created a heinous act against society,” he said. “The intention was to create respect in the conversations.”

Signs removed for violating city statutes

While business owner Landon Johnston launched the petition to recall the mayor, the Recall Gondek signs that went up in Calgary earlier this month were paid for and installed by the YYC Project, a group of conservative advocates operating in support of Johnston’s campaign.

Last weekend, the City of Calgary declared the signs would be removed for violating the municipality’s Temporary Highway Signs Bylaw.

“We are aware of a number of signs posted by Project YYC that are not in compliance with bylaws due to their size or location and have been removed or will be scheduled for removal as they are reported as part of our standard processes,” the city said. indicated.

Roy Beyer, director and spokesperson for the YYC Project, said allowing vandalism of the group’s signs to go unpunished will only encourage similar acts.

He also accused the CPS of delaying the investigation into the incident for eight days.

“The unnecessary delay encouraged further vandalism and fueled speculation of political interference from within the city’s institutions,” he said in a YYC Project news release.

“Not only were these acts of vandalism harmful to Mr. Johnston and the Calgarian recall supporters who donated time or money to express their views, the vandalism was harmful to all Calgarians who wish to express their political opinions free of the intimidation of vandalism”.

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