Sikh Teenager Cleared in School Assault With Kirpan and Long Pin

300px-kirpan_small1A Quebec judge has handed down a curious ruling is dismissing a 13-year-old Sikh boy who was charged with brandishing his ceremonial dagger or Kirpan and a large pin in school. Youth court judge Gilles Ouellet ruled that, while there was evidence to convict the boy, “If the three boys had the same nationality, and the same faith, this case would not have ended up before the court.” What exactly does that mean?

It is unclear why Quellet would consider this a relevant consideration. There probably was religious based animus between these kids, but the question is whether one responded in a criminal way. Obviously, if this were three Sikhs, the animus would probably not have existed. This is like saying in a racially charged incident, “if the three boys had the same race, this case would not have ended up before the court.”

Quellet acquitted of the boy of assault with his kirpan while finding him guilty of using his long hairpin in the assault that occurred last September 11th. The alleged victim said that the accused boy (and a friend) were upset because the defendant accused the victim of following him. He claimed that the defendant threatened them with a large hairpin used by Sihks in their hair and poked them with his Karpan.

On 2006, the Canadian Supreme Court overruled a Montreal school board’s ban of the ceremonial daggers as an infringement on the right to freedom of religion.

While finding that the Court did believe that the teenager committed assault with the pin, but wanted the families to move on.

I do not like these schoolyards incidents ending up as criminal matters. However, if the court believes that a crime was committed, the way to deal with the mitigating factors would be on sentencing. It can be a bit problematic when court engage in a type of judicial form of jury nullification — finding a crime but unilaterally excusing it. This is a controversy that reflects the struggle of court to deal with cultural differences in criminal cases. For years, I have been participating in programs that discuss how judges can address such cultural differences.

For the full story, click here.

9 thoughts on “Sikh Teenager Cleared in School Assault With Kirpan and Long Pin”

  1. Response to GaryT,

    I guess drunk driving is a Victimless crime, until you kill somebody. I guess Domestic Abuse is a Victimless Crime in an Arabic Country. What would you call that Foreplay?

    I guess, my Law School Diploma, did not take away the hurt and pain I feel when my son OD’d on prescription drugs and died. I guess his mother nor I have the right to feel like the Pharmaceutical Company has any duty to warn of the side effects and if they warn of them, then we are not victims. Sir, it makes it not less painful. I guess the makers of Chantix has no liability.

    You have all of the answers I assure you. The longer I am alive, the more questions that I do have. Now with that said.

    You have no right to tell me that there are truly Victimless Crimes. Someone some place is a victim, whether it is spending money that you don’t have to supply what it is you fell you need at the time.

    I have done some pretty lame things during the early 70’s and 80’s. If I had died, do you think my mothers pain would have been any less? I was lucky.

  2. In concordance with John Galt, to Anonymously Yours: WTF?!?

    AY, I really don’t think you have a handle on the law at all, it seems like you’ve kinda pieced it together in you purview from what you have heard and seen on TV crime shows.

    A victimless crime is one where what you do cannot be shown to hurt anyone else directly, irrespective of some ethereal possibility that you could have done so.


  3. How about the legal ramifications that start at home, when the child figures out that they can call CPS because Daddy has spanked me or I want to date and this is the easy way out.

    These are to cases of where parents were charged in the adult court because of kids wanting to get its way. Yes, children do do this. Or you get a cop or child worker that, dislikes you and makes your life a living hell. But I am sure you can handle all o this.

    Oh, the part about Victimless crimes, It is Charged as Society or Public Protection. Are there really Victimless crimes?

    The Courts don’t say John Galt, you got caught with Weed, or Cocaine or Driving with an alcohol level above the legal limit. They are elected and you my friend just became a statistic.

    Now if I represented you, the case could be different. I care about the BS that goes on. But to the Sct you are nothing more than a statics.

  4. Um,,,First, I never said anything about the law not applying to me or any future children I may have. Also, the most of the crimes you described are victimless. Threatening fellow human beings with sharp pointy weapons is not the same as smoking a joint or forgetting to report some interest income.i can say with complete certainty that I have not threatened anyone with a dagger and pin. Also, my children won’t pull this kind of thing because they will be taught early on that it is wrong and know that, if they did, they would wind up in a military school to get the discipline they obviously need. Not all parents are like this, unfortunately, and there need to be legal ramifications to act as a deterrent.

  5. John Galt,

    Ever hit someone while at school? Better turn yourself in.

    As an adult, presuming you are, ever smoked weed, snorted cocaine, drove drunk?

    Ever cheated on your Income Taxes, the SOL for Fraud is 7 years. Better pay up. Hint, hint, money received from what ever source. Ok, call and set up a payment plan.

    Better do the right thing and turn yourself in. You are going down the slippery slope.

    Oh that is right the laws apply to everyone but you. Dang, hate it when that happens that way.

    Suppose your child gets into a fight at school, should they be prosecuted for that?

    Oh yes, everyone else child but mine.

  6. Canada is just ridiculous when it comes to holding people responsible for their crimes. Remember the guy is cut into pieces and cannibalized another guy on the greyhound bus (while the other passengers just stood outside the bus and listened-something that would not happen in America)? He is eligible to return to Canadian society in a year. The prosecution didn’t even really make a case. The victims family is justifiably outraged. Canada has gone too far down the slippery slope.

  7. I think that this is a proper result. Too many children ending up in the court system over frivolous cases. It is the parents duty to discipline and the schools duty to educate.

    I find it interesting to see that the judge believed that an assault had happened. I do think that he was recognizing the differences in cultural bias and utilizing the higher courts opinion to reach his result. Which I think is correct in this instance.

    Fear is a subjective standard.

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