Tina Kraal Faces Single Reduced Charge

Date Feb 19, 2015

It’s being reported that two of the three charges initially approved against Ms Tina Kraal of North Vancouver, in relation to allegations of trail sabotage, have been dropped. In a court appearance yesterday Martin Peters, Ms Kraal’s lawyer, asked that the next court appearance be scheduled for the morning of April 15th to accommodate his schedule.

In a conversation with Crown Counsel this morning I learned that that none of the three initial charges will be contested, but a fourth charge of mischief has been approved. A distinct difference is that two of the three initial offences are indictable, indicating they are among the most serious charges in the Criminal Code of Canada. These can carry maximum sentences of life in prison. Some indictable offences also stipulate minimum sentences.

docket

The Court List from February 18th showing the three initial charges followed by the new charge.

 

For indictable offences the accused can elect to  have a trial with a Provincial Court judge, a B.C. Supreme Court judge alone or B.C. Supreme Court judge with a jury. Summary offences are those commonly referred to as petty crime and carry a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $5000 fine. Summary offences are heard in B.C. Provincial Court in front of a judge, with no jury.

After the three initial charges were recommended by police, Crown Counsel evaluated them; “I received the file, I looked at the trail, I reviewed the evidence and I decided that the appropriate charge was the charge under 430 5.1.” He wouldn’t elaborate on how that decision was reached.

The B.C. Ministry of Justice web site describes the process thusly; “Charging decisions are made in accordance with the branch’s charge assessment guidelines policy, which requires both a substantial likelihood of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest.”

charge

450 5.1; The criminal code section referring to the charge Ms Kraal now faces. Crown Counsel is proceeding with option b.

 

This new charge Ms Kraal will face is a hybrid charge. In these cases Crown Counsel can decide whether to proceed summarily or as an indictable offence. In this case the former was chosen, meaning the maximum sentence Ms Kraal can receive is 6 months in jail and a fine of $5000. If the case goes to trial it will be heard before a B.C. Provincial Court Judge without a jury.

Crown Counsel told me the next court date has two likely outcomes; “What I hope to happen is that we’ll either set a date for a sentencing hearing or a date for a trial.”

Outside the courtroom on February 18th, Ms Kraal’s lawyer Martin Peters was quoted as saying “the recordings are very well done”.

Between now and April 15th Crown Counsel and Ms Kraal’s lawyer will discuss the evidence and Mr Peters will indicate whether Ms Kraal intends to plead guilty or contest the charges. Robert Kraal indicated, before the initial charges were withdrawn, that his wife would contest the charges. The Kraals did not appear in court Wednesday and no further comments from either have been reported.

I asked Crown Counsel if Robert Kraal’s letter to North Vancouver District Council from 2005 would have an impact on the case but he declined comment.

The most puzzling aspect of this new information is Ms Kraal’s lawyer’s statement about the quality of the prosecution’s evidence. With the option of making no statement and praising the prosecution’s case, why would a defence attorney choose the latter?

My personal perspective is that treating this offence summarily is preferable, and that a long prison sentence would not serve the public interest. A drawn out court battle is also likely to force trail users to take sides, at a time when we need to build bridges. I believe that within these sentencing guidelines a judgement can be reached that will both discourage trail sabotage and allow the accused, if found guilty, to appreciate the actual and potential impacts of her actions.


We encourage respectful dialogue in this matter. Please express your comments with that in mind.

Comments

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yahs  - Feb. 23, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

I heard that she was wearing camo clothing during these sabotage missions? Is this true? If so that is one committed woman. I'm sure the legal fees and sleepless nights are enough punishment IMO.

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Peter Leeds  - Feb. 22, 2015, 4:58 p.m.

So long as something gets pinned to her I am all for it. The fact they dropped the other charges are to ensure that the one they are pursuing is going to be a slam-dunk win. I don't think she will see jail. But she will get a criminal record (which would really suck, but that's karma) and most likely pay a fine. I don't think community service would work. I understand they are moving, hopefully out of the Greater Vancouver area (they would be nuts to move to another North Shore neighbourhood, since most bike or at least follow the news) so any community service would be moot.

So long as it is made clear this type of behaviour is wrong and will not be tolerated to dissuade others, I am all for it. It is not like they were innocent or charged without good evidence.

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Nat Brown  - Feb. 22, 2015, 10:23 p.m.

Yay! We…won?

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MikeyOrange  - Feb. 20, 2015, 6:36 p.m.

There's a written letter by her husband stating that this has been ongoing for over a decade, I would say that constitutes mischief… It certainly caused many people to not enjoy their rides as much because they had to remove obstacles from trails.
Also, I'm finding it hard to understand why has her husband has not been charged with anything? He freely admitted to it: "Every morning we walk on those once beautiful trails and try to destroy the structures raised…"

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lumberjake  - Feb. 20, 2015, 3:08 p.m.

I think fair punishment would be community service in the specific form of trail building and maintenance!
Then she has to do good for the community she attacked and works with and hopefully learns to respect along with some humility and shame that should be self served.
As far as entering her husbands letter to the Council years back, that seems unlikely to me. He wrote it, not her. Clearly, I see the association but legally I just don't see it sticking.

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uncle duke  - Feb. 20, 2015, 11:43 a.m.

operation deep throat, follow the money!

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giddyupPG  - Feb. 20, 2015, 8:48 a.m.

I can't say that I'm surprised at all. I'm hoping for a more positive and constructive end to all of this, including a significant amount of time for community service in the form of trail maintenance.

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lumberjake  - Feb. 20, 2015, 3:28 p.m.

Exactly. This kind of sentence almost seems like a given.
I am thinking between 80 to 200 community service hours and between a year and 2 probation.
There will be some serious fighting over the criminal record thing. Her lawyer will fight tooth and nail to avoid this is she enjoys the States. She may get one of those special deals cops get when they break the law where its a suspended sentence.

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MBKS  - Feb. 20, 2015, 1:20 a.m.

The uncertainties appear to be intent and likely consequences rather than actions; thus, I don't find defence counsel's comments about the quality of the videos, which presumably show only actions, to be particularly puzzling. I assume that Crown has adopted the approach you have helpfully described mainly because it would be easier to prove, to the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, all the required elements (especially the intentions and likely consequences elements) of the new alleged offence than would be so regarding the original three alleged offences. It may also better represent what actually happened. The apparent decision by Crown to proceed by summary conviction on the new alleged offence (which was an option for Crown on the second of the original three alleged offences) might even enable a fair/just disposition by plea arrangement. I trust this matter will proceed and resolve in an appropriate way.

As a frequent, both, mountain biker and mountain hiker, I believe there has been much progress on a sustainable, reasonable, wonderful network of trails that we are fortunate to have. I would not want this event (nor other recent or prior events we have heard of) to detract in any way from that; rather, let these past events be a learning experience and a reminder for all trail users about the right, and the fortune, we all have to respectfully and responsibly share and enjoy this wonderful resource now and into the future.

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Nat Brown  - Feb. 20, 2015, 8:55 a.m.

^ In my view this is the best comment on any of the Fromme stories this year.

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Cam McRae  - Feb. 20, 2015, 11:35 a.m.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments Those close to the case, speaking off the record, were equally puzzled about the defence commenting on the video quality.

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primodeelux  - Feb. 19, 2015, 9:41 p.m.

I share your thoughts Cam in your concluding paragraph. In addition, I think a part of the sentencing should be donation to the NSMBA and a written apology letter.

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Carl Linnaeus  - Feb. 19, 2015, 6:08 p.m.

We (the Police and NSMBA et al.) need to do more than 'deter' trail sabotage -- We need to put a stop to it !!!

There is zero chance she didn't try harm individuals. Trail sabotage can end lives or seriously injure someone - as in paraplegic or otherwise injured. What message does it send other saboteurs if she gets off easy?

Furthermore, we will never know to what extent she and her husband's vandalism and her placing obstructions has hurt people. There are possibly many bike accidents that have already been caused by her actions over the many years since their 'war.'

Who can count the cost to people in time of work, expensive physiotherapy, or minor injuries that discouraged them from riding the beautiful North Shore?

I hope a strong message is sent regarding this serious crime.

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DJ  - Feb. 19, 2015, 6:27 p.m.

burn the witch!

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lumberjake  - Feb. 20, 2015, 3:19 p.m.

I cannot help but wonder what the charge would look like had this been a oil line or similar.
I think we would be surprised at how much more aggressive Crown is when you have a billion dollar industry being targeted. Suddenly, terrorism charges are possible.
Of course, I am speaking hypothetically but its just that is an impression I get from observing our Justice system, its highly political and sensitive to media coverage and public trends.
The system works aggressively the more power and money you have down to no action if you are homeless and/or poor.
I do agree with the above. The only way this kind of crime will be taken more seriously is if someone powerful or a relative is directly injured or we, as mountain bikers, form an organized action group and put a ton of effort into lobbying for increased penalties.

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satn  - Feb. 19, 2015, 4:46 p.m.

Get her to serve ice cream at wades excellent adventure.

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Carl Linnaeus  - Feb. 20, 2015, 6:22 p.m.

Service with a smile 🙂

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t.odd  - Feb. 19, 2015, 3:57 p.m.

maybe she could make a few hundred cookies and stand at the water tower gate handing them out and apologizing, after helping on a trail day or three…

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wee eck  - Feb. 19, 2015, 3:10 p.m.

99.9% of trail users do get along. She tried to injure people. End of story. I don't think jail time is the answer for her but she deserves some punishment. More than a slap in the wrists. Fined and some trail day time, even if it's just feeding the builders.

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Mark Karlstrand  - Feb. 19, 2015, 7:26 p.m.

You would trust her to feed you?:P

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wee eck  - Feb. 22, 2015, 5:55 p.m.

My wife is away for 5 weeks. I would trust anyone to feed me!!

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Pearce Owen  - Feb. 19, 2015, 1:40 p.m.

hoping for a constructive result instead of things getting mired in self- righteousness. high hopes for all the trail users to take this as a wake up call and work together

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Merwinn  - Feb. 19, 2015, 1:38 p.m.

"A drawn out court battle is also likely to force trail users to take sides, at a time when we need to build bridges. I believe that within these sentencing guidelines a judgement can be reached that will both discourage trail sabotage and allow the accused, if found guilty, to appreciate the actual and potential impacts of her actions"

Well said and agreed.

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