A Canadian woman named Lydia White was assaulted last November by an aboriginal woman who yelled "I hate white people!" before knocking out White's tooth. But a judge ruled Tuesday that the assailant, Tamara Crowchief, was not motivated by racial hatred.
White was outside a Calgary, Alberta, pub with a male friend Nov. 1 when a female acquaintance of Crowchief approached and asked for a cigarette, the Calgary Herald reported.
After giving the woman a cigarette, White and her friend struck up a conversation with her until Crowchief approached the group. That's when all of a sudden, Crowchief yelled, “I hate white people!” and punched White in the face, knocking out one of her teeth, according to the Herald.
When Crowchief and the woman began to walk away, White and her friend followed them and called the police, who arrived and arrested the offender a short time after.
During her arrest, Crowchief reportedly told police that “the white man was out to get her.”
Prosecutor Karuna Ramakrishnan, who had sought a sentence of 12 to 15 months, argued that the unprovoked attack merited the label "hate crime," the Herald reported.
But in a written decision Tuesday, Provincial Court Judge Harry Van Harten sided with defense counsel Adriano Iovinelli, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to label the offense as such.
“The offender said, ‘I hate white people,’ and threw a punch,” Van Harten said in his ruling Tuesday.
“There is no evidence either way about what the offender meant or whether ... she holds or promotes an ideology which would explain why this assault was aimed at this victim,” he said, noting that there was no reason to believe Crowchief was associated with any group that promoted racial hatred.
“I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that this offence was, even in part, motivated by racial bias,” he said.
According to the Herald, White said in her victim-impact statement that she still can't comprehend what motivated Crowchief to punch her.
“I don’t understand why this woman did this. I never did anything to her. Never even spoke to her,” she said.
Van Harten agreed with the defense that the more than six months Crowchief had spent behind bars was sufficient for the crime. He placed the local woman on 12 months probation and ordered her to undergo psychological and psychiatric counseling, as well as counseling for substance abuse.
Crowchief must also abstain from consuming alcohol or other "intoxicating substances" and is banned from any business that primarily sells alcohol.
This wasn't Crowchief's first run-in with the law. According to the Herald, the Calgary woman spent 30 days in prison in 2013 for assaulting a key witness in a murder trial and calling her a "rat."