Stanley Cup riot charges may take another two months

Cops warn against 'vigilante justice' online

It could take at least two months before Crown prosecutors approve charges against any of the people who allegedly committed criminal acts during the Stanley Cup riot in June.

Const. Lindsey Houghton, a Vancouver Police Department media relations officer, said the Crown prosecution team dedicated to the riot investigation is still compiling information for court.

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Theyre probably going to do one big submission at some point, Houghton told the Courier Monday. Theyve told us it could be a couple of months before these packages go in.

Houghton said the approach by investigators and Crown prosecutors is not to immediately proceed with one charge against an individual until all video and other evidence is reviewed.

This way, he said, the Crown could potentially approve a series of charges against an individual, making for a stronger case in court. Theft, mischief and arson are some of the charges expected to be laid in the investigation.

As of July 6, a total of 34 people had turned themselves in to police.

The Integrated Riot Investigation Team is reviewing approximately 600 gigabytes of data, 15,000 images and nearly 3,000 individual video data files. This equates to approximately 1,200 to 1,600 hours of video.

Despite the volume of information, police still urge people to submit photos, videos and tips about those suspected of being involved in the riot on the night of June 15.

The VPD has set up a new email address, riot@vpd.ca, for this purpose and added a dedicated phone line, 778-838-2124, for people wanting to turn themselves in.

The department also issued a statement warning people upset about the riot to resist the temptation to use the tools of social media to mete out vigilante justice. Several public shaming websites and Facebook sites have popped up since the riot.

The timeline for charges to be approved could come after the Aug. 31 deadline for the B.C. government-ordered independent review of the riot that occurred after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins.

At least 60 businesses and 15 vehicles were set ablaze on a night that saw hundreds of police officers clash with rioters, many of whom smashed store windows, stole merchandise and turned over vehicles.

The VPD, Vancouver Fire-Rescue and the city are all conducting their own reviews of the riot but city manager Penny Ballem hasnt said when they will be completed, or if they will be made public.

Meanwhile, NPA Coun. Suzanne Anton, who is running for mayor, has filed a motion related to the riot to be heard at Tuesdays council meeting. Anton said she wants to know the proposed budget for the citys internal review, details of public input and a timeline.

Early indications suggest the city report will be done entirely in-house, which will not give either transparency or public confidence in the results, Anton said in a release issued Monday.

At the June 28 meeting of council, Anton stormed out of the council chambers after Mayor Gregor Robertson refused to let her ask more questions related to the riot. Robertson, who is seeking re-election in November, accused Anton of political grandstanding.

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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