The Kelowna RCMP says it expects to recommend criminal charges for the racist tirade a belligerent protester hurled at a security guard outside a vaccine clinic this summer, but it remains to be seen if the Crown will approve those charges.
Commanding officer of the Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance told reporters Monday that officers are still actively investigating the incident, which made headlines and drew condemnation from across the province.
Bruce Orydzuk was captured on video yelling at a South Asian security guard, who had stepped in to protect an InfoNews reporter covering the demonstration outside the vaccine clinic at Trinity Church on July 13.
"You're not a Canadian, you are disgusting. Go back to your country," Orydzuk yelled several times at guard Anmol Singh.
On Monday, Supt. Triance called the incident “deplorable.”
“Statements have been obtained in that case. That case is being looked at for the threshold of a hate crime, that threshold is extremely high, a national test of extremely high threshold,” she said.
“What we're doing here is making sure we have all of the evidence we can gather and putting forth the best case possible,” Triance continued.
“This is not a case that our police officers would investigate daily, and so it's one that has required significant collaboration with the BC Prosecution Service, and a little bit more time to ensure we're putting the right package forward."
While the file is still in the hands of police, Triance says she “anticipates” that officers will recommend charges.
In B.C., while the police recommend charges, it is the BC Prosecution Service that makes the final decision whether to lay charges. The Crown only proceeds with prosecutions that have a likelihood of success and are in the interest of the public.
Section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code, which includes public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred, is rarely prosecuted. Recently published data shows there were 24 police-reported incidents of the offence in B.C. in 2020, more than than double the 11 incidents the year prior. But while police determined just one of the 2020 incidents was “unfounded,” just two people were charged with the offence last year.
Just one police-reported incident of the offence occurred in Kelowna in the last five years, but no charges were laid.
with files from Nich Johansen