Skull Saboteur to be Sentenced Jan. 21st

Words Cam McRae
Date Jan 20, 2016

It’s likely she never would have been caught. If Ms. Tineke Kraal hadn’t ramped up her debris-strewing campaign to include Lower Skull, she probably would have continued into her golden years without disruption. Before this escalation she had stayed off the radar, pulling logs and branches over rarely ridden trails – and some that were hardly trails at all. Mountain bikers in the area have noticed unnaturally placed debris in these areas for at least ten years. But once she took on Skull, the community began to talk, and two mountain bikers decided to take action.

martin_peters

Ms Kraal’s lawyer, Martin Peters (at left), indicated earlier that he will seek a conditional discharge for his client.

Gordon Berg and Shaun Rivers were introduced by the staff of Lynn Valley Bikes late in 2014. They shared a passion to discover the identity of the saboteur, not to enact revenge or mountain-side justice, but to foil this relentless campaign permanently. Their carefully orchestrated operation made it clear they are not vigilantes. Once they knew Ms. Kraal’s schedule they made sure they were nowhere near the area while she was out on her daily, pre-dawn excursions. Their resolve, tenacity and complementary skills made them a formidable team –  and mountain bikers here and elsewhere should be glad they met.

camera

Earlier it was reported that a single wildlife camera was used to record Ms Kraal’s activities. In fact there was an array of different devices used to ensure the evidence collected was iron clad. Photo – Walleater

I have spoken with these gentlemen and interviewed one extensively. In fact I have been in communication with Gord Berg since Ms. Kraal was arrested, but both men, at that time, wished to keep their identities out of the media. The full scope of their efforts has now been revealed to me, and it’s truly impressive. I have agreed not to share these particulars until Ms. Kraal’s 30-day appeal window has closed, but if no appeal is launched I intend to lay it for you then. I can tell you that the time, expense and carefully planning and documentation of their efforts was beyond what I would expect even from law enforcement professionals. Without their highly detailed approach, it’s clear we wouldn’t now be seeing this matter resolved with a guilty plea and, shortly, sentencing.

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

Once their evidence was presented to North Vancouver RCMP, an apprehension plan was put in place, and an arrest was made at 5:00 am on January 2nd, 2015. Ms Kraal, then 64, was taken to the detachment that morning but formal charges weren’t laid for several days. The charges the Crown put forward evolved over time and she eventually pleaded guilty to violation 430 5.1 b.

charge

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

At an earlier court appearance Mark Myhre indicated that the Crown would seek a conditional sentence, also referred to as house Arrest. The maximum sentence for summary offences is a fine of $5000 and six months jail time. Ms Kraal’s lawyer has indicated he would be seeking a conditional discharge on January 21st, 2016.

At one point Robert Kraal, Tineke’s husband, went to the media to suggest that his wife’s actions were performed in self defence and that she was simply attempting to slow mountain bikers down for her own safety. A letter Mr. Kraal wrote to North Vancouver District Council in 2005 painted a different picture and eroded this narrative. He stated plainly that he and his wife were at war with mountain bikers, and that their beef was about parking. In fact Mr Kraal didn’t suggest mountain bikers were the primary target for his anger; it was North Van District Council’s decision to implement resident only parking that motivated his actions.

offending_paragraph

The discovery of this letter, by our photographer Kaz Yamamura, changed the trajectory of these proceedings.

Some of the debris strewn over the trail was simply a nuisance; harmless branches that riders could easily ride over. At other times it was necessary to dismount and clear more substantial debris in order to proceed. Some of the debris placement suggests a different motive. Several years ago I began to notice logs placed around corners on steep sections of trail. Some were at a right angle to the trail while others were placed lengthwise, but with ends on each side of the trail. These low angled logs on steep sections were impossible to navigate and I was forced to ditch into the bush on one occasion. At other times debris was placed below a drop, invisible from above. It’s no stretch to conclude these obstacles were placed at best to scare mountain bikers out of the area, and perhaps even to cause injury.

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Gord Berg showing a mock up of a particularly dangerous log he found carefully placed on the trail. Photo – Dave Smith

Despite this, it seems to me that a stiff sentence is unnecessary at this point. The best outcome would be for Ms Kraal to indicate she understands the danger her actions posed, the actual and potential harm these actions caused, and that she now sees the error of her ways. If she sincerely communicates this then a sentence that precludes her from entering the forest for some time, combined with a substantial number of community service hours, seems appropriate.

Mountain bikers, like every segment of society, are sometimes known to behave badly. As a community we are getting better, but it’s certain mistakes will be made in the future. A vindictive approach to matters like this will make it difficult for us to ask the community for a second chance the next time one of us messes up. Instead we can take an active role in healing this wound in our community, and forgiveness, humility and kindness are the best way forward.

I will report on the sentencing hearing after its conclusion tomorrow.


If you would like to comment on this matter please do so respectfully. We reserve the right to moderate comments that don’t meet that standard.

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Comments

SneakyB
0
Gord SB B  - Jan. 22, 2016, 8:46 a.m.

I accept her apology in Court and forgive her. And I am confident other level minds here can do the same.

I do not condone any comments of aggression or threats that have been made towards her.

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JulieT
0
ashroadadam1 .  - Jan. 21, 2016, 2:23 p.m.

WOW! I eat my words. This is a heavy sentence from my perspective! 150 hours! No MTB or multi-use trail access in BC for several years! I think this sends a pretty strong message to both the offender, and others.

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0
AlanB  - Jan. 21, 2016, 3:04 p.m.

Agreed. No access to MTB or mixed-use trails for 3 years will get people's attention.

The judged recognized her lack of insight into what she'd done, so he wasn't going to go light on her.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 21, 2016, 4:40 p.m.

They actually backed away from banning her from multi-use trails.

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0
AlanB  - Jan. 21, 2016, 5:23 p.m.

So they looked at a map and saw how restrictive that would be. Good call by them.

Wait! Where did they get a map? I couldn't find one on dnv.org that showed multi-use v.s. mtb primary.

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skiergardener
0
Skiergardener  - Jan. 21, 2016, 5:32 p.m.

Two hours a day for two years = 1460 hours spent in community dis-service. The sentence seems awfully light from that perspective.

And she could easily have given someone 8760 hours per year of quadriplegia.

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nelson
0
NELSON  - Jan. 21, 2016, 2:15 p.m.

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Brocklanders
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yahs  - Jan. 21, 2016, 12:50 p.m.

freeTineke

Think she has had enough punishment for this.
Let's move on shall we?

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toejar-the-humble
0
Toejar -The Humble  - Jan. 21, 2016, 4:33 p.m.

No.

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SneakyB
0
Gord SB B  - Jan. 21, 2016, 8:14 p.m.

yes - this has run its' course

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toejar-the-humble
0
Toejar -The Humble  - Jan. 24, 2016, 1:40 p.m.

HA! Who are you, to tell me what to do?
It has run it's course when she has finished her community serves, and served her probationary sentence without further incident. That's how it works. Sorry kid, but I don't make the rules. Take it up with the law, if you have a problem with that, Gord.

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SneakyB
0
Gord SB B  - Jan. 24, 2016, 1:54 p.m.

I agree with yahs… we all can move on. I have. Some will not. In other news:

Narcissistic personality disorder: Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you're not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

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cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Jan. 24, 2016, 5:33 p.m.

I'll tell you who he is. He's the guy who spent thousands of dollars and over a month in the woods setting up cameras to catch Tina Kraal. That's who he is to tell you what to do.

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toejar-the-humble
0
Toejar -The Humble  - Jan. 24, 2016, 11:03 p.m.

Thank you for telling me who he is. But he still does not out rank the law. Pretty damn close though. Sorry.

To me, If this was "over" and we could all "move on", then Kraal would be permitted on the trails. Successfully sharing them with all who use them. Last I checked, that was not the case.

Let me just say that other then calling Kraal a childish name, I have made no threats, and I don't plan on it. Threats are for the weak. I will however quietly remember what she has done, and not forgive and forget until she has completed her sentence. Then I will forgive, but will never forget, the danger and stress she has caused to all the wonderful people who do successfully share the trails.

Lastly, I understand what all those words in your comment mean. But when you arrange them in the order you have, I can't figure out for the life of me how that justifies in telling me how to feel.

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nelson
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NELSON  - Jan. 21, 2016, 11:48 a.m.

Crown suggesting she do trail maintenance? Interesting…

Great live trial coverage by this guy

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JulieT
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ashroadadam1 .  - Jan. 21, 2016, 11:13 a.m.

Brace yourself for a light sentence. The result that mattered is already behind us, with the guilty plea. Realistically, with little likelihood of her posing future danger, lack of a prior record, and considering that she has a considerable amount to lose if where were to re-offend, the most likely outcome is a conditional discharge of some sort. Maybe a fine. As immensely outraged as I was by her actions, I'm fine with whatever the sentencing judge hands out.

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bavaria-20
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Bavaria 2.0  - Jan. 21, 2016, 9:40 a.m.

Intent to harm. Some jail time should be expected.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Jan. 20, 2016, 6:24 p.m.

Definitely key to highlight the difference between the actions of a concerned citizen and a vigilante. Well done all around!

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doug-nielsen
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Doug Nielsen  - Jan. 22, 2016, 9:48 a.m.

Why is it key? I'm not familiar with Canadian law but trying to find out who is hurting people is no where near vigilante where I hail from. It's just doing what's right. I don't think the author needed to explain that at all personally.

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drewm
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DrewM  - Jan. 22, 2016, 12:30 p.m.

Gord and Shaun could have chosen any number of significantly less time consuming ways of dealing with the information they accumulated. They could have simply posted their initial videos on the internet; they could have gone and confronted Mrs Kraal in the foaming-at-the-mouth-rabid-dog way that mountain bikers are often painted.

The law works slowly and has a much higher requirement for evidence than the internet, or individuals, and they invested a significant amount of time in "doing what's right" both in terms of trying to find out who is hurting people, but also in presenting the local riding community in an excellent, professional, light by handing their accumulated information over the proper authorities.

I think most would agree that this is a key point as it goes contrary to many stereotypes of the local mountain bike community -- including those perpetuated by some of Mrs Kraals supporters.

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