Burlington man charged after mosque vandalized in Toronto

Published October 16, 2023 at 9:39 am

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A Burlington man is facing charges for allegedly defacing a Toronto mosque with hate-motivated graffiti.

Toronto police say that around 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 6, a mosque in the Danforth Avenue and Donlands Avenue area was vandalized with hate symbols.

On Oct. 12, police again received a report that a man had left hateful writing on the front of the same mosque.

On Oct. 13, police arrested Lee Bryans, 42, in connection with the incidents. He has been charged with mischief and property damage under $5,000, as well as two counts of interfering with the lawful use or enjoyment of property.

He was scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 14.

“After consultation with the service’s specialized Hate Crime Unit, the investigation is being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence,” police said in a news release.

Police say that when suspected hate-motivated offences are reported to officers, the Hate Crime Unit is made aware and specialized officers support the investigation as needed.

If a person is charged and convicted of a hate-related offence, the judge will consider 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,” police said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-5500.

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