Sep 7, 2012 / 9:00 pm
A young woman who saw her schooling, employment and reputation crumble around her after a 20-second lapse in judgment during Vancouver's Stanley Cup riot has been spared jail time, with a judge concluding the scathing campaign of online shaming that targeted her was more than enough to ensure she learned her lesson.
Instead, 23-year-old Camille Cacnio, who was photographed stealing pants from a looted clothing store, was handed a suspended sentence that will include two years of probation, a nighttime curfew and 150 hours of community service. She will also be left with a criminal record.
Cacnio became a focal point for public anger after photos of her appeared on a series of name-and-shame websites, and an Internet apology that she authored only seemed to add to the online abuse she endured.
Provincial court Judge Joseph Galati accepted Cacnio's argument that her behaviour on June 15, 2011, when the Vancouver Canucks' loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final devolved into a destructive riot, was out of character for someone who appears to have a bright future in front of her.
The judge pointed to Cacnio's academic achievements at the University of British Columbia, where she received numerous scholarships, and her experience volunteering in the community. The court also received numerous letters of support describing Cacnio as honest, hard working, responsible and compassionate.
"Until June 15, 2011, Ms. Cacnio led an exemplary life. ... She is a young woman who has contributed to society and is motivated and capable of greater contributions going forward," Galati said Friday as Cacnio sat at the front of a Vancouver courtroom.
"Ms. Cacnio, to some degree, has been unjustly persecuted by the would-be pundits of the social media."
Cacnio admitted to entering the smashed windows of a clothing store and taking two pairs of size 42 men's pants, far too large for her, and a tie.
The entire incident lasted 20 seconds.
When photos of her appeared online, she turned herself into the police and posted an apology on the Internet.
Her apology initially attempted to explain her actions, saying she was drunk and overtaken by the mob mentality, but she later replaced that with a much shorter posting that focused on taking responsibility for her actions.
Cacnio's sentence is by far the most lenient handed out as the rioters' cases make their way through the courts, and could serve as a precedent for others who are seen to have only limited involvement in the riot and aren't accused of vandalism or violence.
Only two other people have escaped jail. Robert Snelgrove, who was sentenced in July, and Sean Burkett, who was sentenced later on Friday, were each ordered to terms of house arrest.
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