VANCOUVER - The 163 criminal charges against 60 people stemming from this summer's Stanley Cup riot are “only the beginning” of what is expected to be the biggest case of its kind in Canadian history, Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu said Monday.
The highly anticipated announcement comes almost five months after the June 15 riot following the Canucks’ Stanley Cup Final Game 7 loss.
This is just the beginning, and we expect to announce more arrests in the weeks and months ahead,” said the city's top cop, waving a photo of someone caught on camera looting.
The 60 cases will now be forwarded to the Crown for charge approval. While there is no set timeline for processing the cases, Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said some suspects could see a courtroom by the end of November.
The Crown will proceed with the charge assessment process as quickly as is reasonably possible in the circumstances,” he said, adding there are five prosecutors dedicated to reviewing riot charges.
While names were withheld because the charges aren’t approved yet, police have released details of some cases, noting suspects’ ages and the charges against them.
In one case, cops recommended a 23-year-old Surrey, B.C., woman, who was apparently drunk, be charged with participating in a riot, mischief and arson after evidence revealed she had set fire to a police cruiser. Footage also showed her smashing the police car several times with a piece of wood.
In another case, a 21-year-old Delta, B.C., man is alleged to have joined in the riot after being separated from his friends in the downtown fan site, where more than tens of thousands people gathered to watch Game 7 on the big screen.
Police believe the man grabbed a pole from the back of a parked truck, smashed out the rear tail lights and back window, then helped set it on fire. He is facing recommended charges of participating in a riot, mischief over $5,000 and arson.
According to police, some of the suspects turned themselves in soon after the riot and confessed to committing a criminal act, but evidence showed eight of them had committed more than their confessed crime.
Police also revealed demographic information about those facing charges. The average age of those charged is 21. There are 50 men and 10 women included in the group, and only 12 are from the city, with the rest hailing outlying suburban communities. One is from Seattle.
By the end of the investigation, police expect hundreds of people will be charged, surpassing the Toronto G20 protests.