Canada | Law

Native woman avoids hate crime sentence for punching non-Native

A November 2015 incident outside Jameson's Irish Pub in Calgary, Alberta, led to charges against Tamara Crowchief. Photo from Facebook

A judge in Canada refused to impose a harsher sentence on a Native woman who yelled "I hate white people" before punching a non-Native woman.

Tamara Crowchief pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and other charges in connection with the November 2015 incident. She admitted she punched Lydia White in Calgary, Alberta, and later told authorities that "the white man was out to get her."

But Judge Harry Van Harten said the crime was not a "hate motivated" one. There was no evidence that Crowchief targeted her victim based on a specific "ideology," the June 21 decision stated.

"I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offence was, even in part, motivated by racial bias," Van Harten wrote.

The lack of a hate crime means Crowchief will not serve a longer sentence. Van Harten said the 9 1/2 months she already spent behind bars was sufficient punishment.

Crowchief was ordered to spend 12 months in probation, during which she cannot go to any business whose principal sale is alcohol, The Calgary Herald reported.

The incident took place outside of a bar in Calgary and Crowchief had been ordered, as part of a prior case, not to consume intoxicants. She also had violated a court-imposed curfew, according to the court's decision.

Get the Story:
Indigenous woman yells 'I hate white people' before punching white woman, but it's not a hate crime judge rules (The Calgary Herald 7/6)
Yelling ‘I hate white people’ and punching one isn’t a hate crime, Canadian judge rules (The Washington Post 7/7)

Provincial Court of Alberta Decision:
R. v. Crowchief (June 21, 2016)