The Toronto Police Service (TPS) has charged a Burlington man in connection with a "hate-motivated mischief investigation" at a Toronto mosque.
According to a news release posted to the the TPS website, a suspect allegedly painted hate symbols on the front of a mosque in the Danforth Ave. and Donlands Ave. area on Friday, Oct. 6 at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Police were called to the same location on Thursday, Oct. 12 for reports of a man - believed to be the same person as in the previous week's incident - leaving hateful writing on the front of the mosque.
On Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, Lee Bryans, 42, of Burlington, was arrested and charged with:
- Mischief/Damage Property Not Exceeding $5,000
- Two counts of Obstructs/Interferes with the Lawful Use, Enjoyment or Operation of Property
He was scheduled to appear in court today (Oct. 14).
After consultation with the Toronto Police Service's specialized Hate Crime Unit, the investigation is being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence, police said in the news release.
According to TPS, when suspected hate-motivated offences are reported to police, the investigation will be led by a Divisional investigator. The Hate Crime Unit will be made aware and specialized officers from that unit will support the investigation as needed.
If it is alleged a criminal offence was committed and it is believed to have been motivated by bias, prejudice or hate, the officer-in-charge will consult with the Crown. If a person is charged and convicted of the offence, the Judge will take into consideration hate as an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence.
Wilful promotion of hatred and advocating genocide are hate propaganda (hate speech) offences which require the Attorney General’s consent. Members of the Hate Crime Unit will provide assistance and support to the divisional investigators in seeking the Attorney General’s consent to lay these charges, if applicable. These charges are often laid at a later time.
Anyone with information about the Oct. 6 or Oct. 12 incident is asked to contact police at 416-808-5500, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.